India’s veto on TikTok could cost its creator $ 6 billion: lost 120 million users


(Reuters)

Chinese tech ByteDance, developer of the popular video app TikTok, could stop receiving more than 6,000 million dollars after being vetoed by the Indian Government in the context of the crisis between New Delhi and Beijing.

The private digital portal Caixin He cited sources from the company giving that figure, higher than the combined losses faced by the other 58 Chinese apps banned by India, including WeChat and Weibo, Chinese equivalents of WhatsApp and Twitter.

India was the main international market for TikTok, the successful Chinese app popular with young people that allows users to upload and share short videos, with more than 120 million users in the Southeast Asian giant. In the country, the application was downloaded 611 million times in the first quarter of 2020, almost double that in all of 2019. These statistics are only surpassed by China, although the application is called Douyin there.

On Monday, the Indian Executive announced the blocking of 59 Chinese mobile applications, considering them “detrimental to the sovereignty and integrity” of the country, since it ensures that they are used to “steal and surreptitiously transmit user data without authorization to servers located outside of India. “

A young woman wears a mask with the TikTok logo in a slum in Mumbai (Reuters)
A young woman wears a mask with the TikTok logo in a slum in Mumbai (Reuters)

In its statement, New Delhi argued that this data collection is used for “profiling by elements hostile to national security and defense” of the country and, therefore, they are a “deep concern that requires immediate action of emergency”.

ByteDance – which has about 2,000 employees in India – had announced in April last year a $ 1 billion investment in the Indian market for the next three years, and three months later he opened a data center to store the information of his Indian users locally.

With a population of 1.3 billion people and internet penetration driven by low mobile data prices, India is a key market for digital businesses. Many international giants in the sector, such as Facebook, see it as a very promising growth engine.

Celebrate the competition

As a result of the government’s decision, some digital platforms in India increased their number of users at full speedAs they search for local applications to replace the prohibited ones.

Sharechat received 15 million downloads within 48 hours of the blocking order, and now has at least 150 million registered users, the Indian social network announced in a statement.

Geetha Sridha, 54, who used to post several videos a day on TikTok, records while cooking with her daughter. He says he will start publishing in another app (Reuters)
Geetha Sridha, 54, who used to post several videos a day on TikTok, records while cooking with her daughter. He says he will start publishing in another app (Reuters)

The video application Roposo gained 10 million new users in recent days, raising its user base to 75 million, he told the AFP Naveen Tewari, President of parent company Inmobi.

Political reactions

The head of TikTok in India, Nikhil Gandhi, announced in a statement that he will meet with the authorities to discuss the issue, while defending that the company complies with all the requirements of Indian law and that it does not share information with the Chinese government. “Besides, if they asked us in the future, we wouldn’t do it.”

While, The Chinese Embassy in India issued a statement condemning the decision and calling it “selective and discriminatory”: “It goes against the requirements that the processes are fair and transparent, abuses national security exceptions and could be suspected of violating the rules of the World Trade Organization.”

It should be remembered that China is one of the main defenders of the concept of ‘cyber sovereignty’ and, under this pretext, it keeps foreign internet services such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, YouTube or Instagram blocked in the country.

For his part, the head of US diplomacy, Mike Pompeo, applauded New Delhi’s decision on Wednesday. “We welcome India’s ban on certain mobile applications that can serve as appendices to the CCP’s surveillance statusPompeo said, referring to the ruling Chinese Communist Party.

The veto on 59 applications was announced as China and India try to dilute the tension unleashed between both Asian powers after the serious border clash that they carried out on June 15 in the western Himalayas, which left at least 20 Indian soldiers dead and more than 70 injured.

Indian and Chinese border forces clashed on the Galwan Valley dividing line in India’s Ladakh region, and after cross-allegations were made about responsibility for the incident, senior military and diplomatic leaders have since held talks to ease the clash. The two countries have had a military escalation on that border since May, after another confrontation at another point on the 4,000 kilometer border they share, with no victims on that occasion.

(With information from AFP and EFE)

MORE ON THIS TOPIC:

Amid tensions with China, India banned TikTok and WeChat over security concerns

The US Communications Commission called Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE threats to national security.