New Delhi: Last month, India banned 59 Chinese mobile apps, including the extremely popular TikTok and UC Browser, in a bid to hit back at China following the violent face-off at Galwan Valley which left 20 soldiers dead on the Indian side.
We asked our readers: Can banning Chinese apps really hurt China?
This is what some of them had to say:
‘India is getting a taste of China’s medicine’
Banning the Chinese applications will of course have an economic impact on China and more so the Chinese companies. However, to think that the Chinese government will not retaliate or simply back down, I think is a little far-fetched. Considering the fact that India has a relatively higher poverty rate and depends on China in many aspects, to disregard it is not exactly the smartest decision.
Also, a few people have been saying that China’s getting a taste of its own medicine but if you really think about it, India is getting a taste of China’s medicine. I mean it is something to think about — Nishika Dhingra, New Delhi. Twitter handle: @Nishika024
‘Move may hurt China’s medieval middle kingdom fantasies’
The Indian government banned 59 Chinese apps, which threatened its sovereignty, integrity and public order. This decision cannot hurt the Chinese economy per se, but if we go by the optics of geopolitics, and as evident from the statement of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, this move will certainly rattle China and can embolden many other nations to take similar measures like banning of ZTE and Huawei, which can severely threaten Chinese interest and reduce its inchoate hegemony. Thus, banning Chinese app is symbolic but it may turn out to be a decisive blow to Chinese prestige and hurt its medieval middle kingdom fantasies — Abhinav Pandey, Ranchi. Twitter handle: @pandey9abhinav
‘Local alternatives have already started emerging’
India has banned 59 Chinese apps following a border dispute between the two countries. The ban’s impact on China is still up in the air: India has been an avid consumer of China’s digital goods, which would mean loss of business for China. However, with global digital media consumption increasing considerably due to Covid-19, it may be easy for China to replace Indian consumers with other global consumers. It has, nevertheless, managed to be a sustainable move on India’s part as local alternatives to the banned apps have already started emerging and digital goods have been easier to replace than physical goods, especially during a global pandemic — Aditi Srivastava, Kanpur. Twitter handle: @a_deity_03
‘Banning apps will trigger Make in India movement’
Banning Chinese apps will definitely affect China in terms of economy and further from issues that emanate from the same. Putting an official ban on these apps will prevent theft of data that the Chinese slyly gather from these applications in order to determine a country’s demands for various products, thereby producing those goods and trading with India. It is undoubtedly true that China’s manoeuvres follow the ideologies of Mao that is to gamble with the psyche of enemy. According to a report in “The Global Times”, Chinese company ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok and Hello apps, is anticipating a loss of up to $6 billion.
The action is nothing less than a famous idiom — killing two birds with one stone. Also, banning these apps ought to trigger the Make in India movement during Covid times and showing the enemies the strength of unity.
In the longer run, considering the elections, this may be a successful propaganda for the parties to gain votes. This non-violent, yet extremely damaging step, taken by our government has revived the sentiment of patriotism among citizens amidst global crises — Srishti Singla, Panipat, Haryana. Twitter handle: @SrishtiSingla3
‘China should think about the domino effect of India’s app ban’
There can’t be an absolute answer of yes/no regarding hurting China and the apps ban. India is an unsaturated market and no country would try to lose market where per capita income and technology inclusion is on an upward trend. Already struggling on protectionism and 5G, a manufacturing nation such as China should think about the domino effect of India’s app ban. In an era of 4th Industrial revolution, data and digital platforms are much needed ingredients to prosper. In short run, we may not observe the change but long races are run slowly and tortoise won the race. Tortoise name is Make in India, let Rabbit hop — Syed Ali Ashraf, Lucknow. Twitter handle: @pehle_aap
‘Ban will hit China’s ambitions of becoming a tech superpower’
With 500 million smartphone users and high-speed internet, India is the most lucrative market for every Chinese tech giant. Though exports to India only accounts 3 per cent of the total Chinese exports, there is a larger game that Chinese are losing due to the banning of apps. With Huawai and ZTE already facing global backlash, this tech-war has shattered China’s dreams of becoming the new Silicon Valley. By banning these apps, India has opened a new front to fight China’s expansionist mentality. It appears to be a small measure but its repercussions are loud and clear to Beijing. With India joining several other countries against Chinese companies, it has hit China’s ambitions of becoming a tech superpower — Soumik Bakshi, Chennai. Twitter handle: @bakshi_sanchita
‘India must compete with China with its own products’
Yes. If other countries too follow India’s digital action, this will lead to a great loss of advertisement revenue to these digital platforms and thus stymieing their contribution to Chinese economy. Also new Chinese investors will have to think twice before making an investment in India as there is wide and popular voice being raised against Chinese goods. India being the second most populous country is one of the biggest markets both in digital and non-digital sphere. So, losing a market like India means losing a huge consumer or user base. No country wants this. But Chinese incursions have invited these retaliations from India.
On the other hand, India must be ready with substitutes of the Chinese products both quality- and cost-wise if in future we are going to totally shun Chinese products, we must have their replacements which may satisfy our needs. In my opinion, in spite of totally banning China’s market in India we must compete with them with our own products so that we can ignore Chinese goods. This applies to the digital market also. What if tomorrow we get apps which are from the West and better than our local apps and we decide to switch to them and then someday India takes a decision to ban them, we will be switching apps throughout our lives.
I think competition should be allowed by encouraging local start-ups and companies so that we Indians can rely on our own products and digital offerings — Supreet Singh Sodhi, Jammu. Twitter handle: @supreet_sodhi
‘Effectiveness of ban will depend on how long it remains’
While national security and safety of the Indian cyberspace have been cited as reasons for banning Chinese apps, the immediate purpose of this ban is to send a clear message to China that India is willing to take steps to impose costs on China for violating India’s territorial sovereignty by restricting market access by replicating China’s playbook. It is too early to predict if the ban would hurt China. The effectiveness of this ban will depend on how long this ban remains in force, the emergence of alternative apps during the ban and the progress of India-China talks going forward — Aakaash Singh, New Delhi. Twitter handle: @furiousaakaash
‘Ban may have intended consequence of crippling Chinese firms’
In some sense, the banning of Chinese apps is the UNO reverse card that India should have played a long time back. Following suit of most totalitarian, regressive states, online censorship is rife in China. Every day, apps such as Google, Facebook and many more are banned in Mainland China for fear of open, online dissent. We can expect no less from a tyrannical government petrified of criticism.
The ban may have the intended consequence of crippling Chinese companies. But in its diluted form is a national security measure. These apps are charged with supposed data theft and backdoor access to sensitive domestic information. Any potential threat to Indian cyber space warrants security concerns. The jury is out on whether the ban will hurt China. But will it protect Indian sovereignty? Absolutely — Shaun James, Bengaluru. Twitter handle: @shamesofficial3
‘Ban won’t make a scratch on China’s economy’
China killed our 20 soldiers, injured more than 50 and captured our land. All India did was ban their 59 apps stating security concerns. I think it’s too easy to fool people in this country. The government did nothing constructive but gave a topic to people to talk about this ban and people forgot that our land got captured. Some mainstream media claiming this step to be historic masterstroke or whatever are even worse. The only people affected by this step are the Indian employees of these companies. It will reduce companies’ revenue to some extent, but won’t make a scratch on China’s economy. Only way it could affect China is if these apps were actually collecting user data and providing the same to Chinese government — Pranay Gupta, Jaipur. Twitter handle: @pranay_1707