After banning 59 Chinese apps citing threats to data privacy last month, the government has decided to ban more apps of Chinese origin. The government has removed applications such as Helo Lite, ShareIt Lite, Bigo Lite and VFY Lite, among others, from the Google Play Store and iOS App Store.
‘Lite’ apps are those with no tech support and limited functionality. In the aftermath of the ban on 59 Chinese apps on June 29, the ‘lite’ versions of several banned applications cropped up on the internet.
“The apps were found to be operating despite the ban via these versions,” a MEITY official told Hindustan Times. “They have been taken down from application stores.”
Earlier this week, the government directed the banned Chinese applications to ensure compliance with the order, warning of enforcement action against them in case of violations. The IT Ministry wrote to the banned applications, informing them that availability and operation of the apps is a punishable offence, according to provisions of the Information Technology Act, and would attract penal provisions.
Earlier this month, Inc42 had reported that Chinese ecommerce store ClubFactory, one of the banned apps, was still available for download in the country through alternative sites, after being removed from the Google Play Store and iOS App Store. These portals are still accessible in India with an APK file available for download. The APK file of the Club Factory app can be used to install the application on Android smartphones. However, Club Factory is not accepting orders on its mobile application, as per government directives.
Meanwhile, in the salvo fired at Chinese apps, one seems to have dodged the bullet. ByteDance-owned TikTok may have been banned in India, but another app which counts ByteDance as its parent company is still going strong. Social-music streaming app Resso was launched in India in March this year, and in June, crossed 3 Mn downloads, data from app analytics firm Sensor Tower revealed. The app has around 10.6 Mn first-time installs from across the world on the App Store and Google Play. About 74% of these downloads were from India.