How some banned Chinese apps are re-entering in new form

New Delhi – Scores of new Chinese apps have flooded Indian app stores in the last few months including several rebranded versions of applications banned by the government in recent months citing threat to national security. For instance, Snack Video, launched by Tencent-backed Kuaishou, is similar to Kwai, an earlier offering by the Chinese company that was banned in June.

Snack Video, which has already amassed a significant number of Indian users, is also replicating features of the banned popular short-video app TikTok, owned by ByteDance.

Similarly, the banned Hago app, which allowed people to create chat rooms with strangers and also play games with them, has been replaced by an app called Ola Party. While the new app does not offer the gaming option, it has imported the sign-in as well as the existing profile, friends and chat rooms from Hago, a review by ET showed.

In response to queries on the continued availability of banned apps and rebranding of some apps, a senior Government official said, “this should not be the case. If this is happening, we will take up the matter”. (When media are aware of these things but the Government officers are unaware despite access to all systems and talk of ‘ifs and buts’, it is quite serious. – Editor) The Ministry of Electronics and IT has issued advisories that none of the banned Chinese apps should be available. It has also banned close to 47 clones that have come up in the weeks following its initial action in June. (When these apps are already available in the country, to say they will not be allowed is laughable. Editor)