India’s decision to ban 59 Chinese mobile applications, including Bytedance’s TikTok and Tencent’s WeChat, became a trending topic on social media apps in China on Tuesday morning.
A statement by India’s information technology ministry said on Monday the 59 apps have been blocked “since in view of the information available, they are engaged in activities prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order”.
Millions of Chinese net users active on Twitter-like Weibo in China shared the news and discussed the reasons behind New Delhi’s decision.
At around 10am in China, the topic had been viewed some 63 million times, and at least 4,000 threads of discussions were active on Weibo platforms.
Many Chinese online users made caustic comments on the ban. One of the recurring comment themes was that the Chinese citizens also want to stop using Indian products but could not find any.
“We want to boycott Indian products but could not find any in my home,” wrote one user.
Another wrote: “I also want to boycott Indian products. I have searched all over my house. Nothing is India’s.”
Another Weibo user wrote: “Indian netizens are going to use TikTok through VPN”.
So far, Chinese companies on India’s list have not commented on the ban.
The decision by New Delhi to ban Chinese apps comes days after popular Chinese social media app WeChat–also banned by India–removed updates by the embassy of India (EoI) on the current border conflict including Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement on the clash that left 20 Indian Army soldiers dead.
The reasons given for the removal of the posts included divulging state secrets and endangering national security.
The updates published on WeChat included Modi’s remarks on the India-China border situation, the phone call between the Indian and Chinese foreign ministers held on Thursday and a statement by the external affairs ministry’s (MEA) spokesperson.
A day earlier, EoI had to issue a clarification on its Chinese Twitter-like Weibo account after the same statement by the MEA spokesperson was deleted.
On Tuesday, the business and political news website Caixin reported on the Indian government’s decision to ban the Chinese apps.
“At present, the Indian government hasn’t clarified how the ban will be carried out. The Indian government may ask telecom providers to stop providing access to these apps,” it said in a report.
“Even with unresolved border issues, India has become an important destination for Chinese technology companies,” the report said.
The nationalistic tabloid Global Times also carried a report on New Delhi’s decision headlined: “India bans 59 Chinese apps amid border tension”.
Xiaomi, the mobile phone company, has pointed out that it has been the leader in India’s smartphone market for five consecutive quarters.
“Xiaomi accounted for 30 percent of all smartphone sales in India between January and March. In addition, Xiaomi produces nearly half of India’s fitness brands,” the report added.