China accuses India of discrimination over latest app ban

PHOTO: Commercial standard

Beijing lashed out at India on Wednesday after it banned another stretch of Chinese apps on national security grounds, the latest sore spot between the two nuclear-armed neighbors.

Tensions remain high between Beijing and New Delhi after a deadly clash in June in a disputed border area that left 20 Indian soldiers dead and an unspecified number of Chinese casualties.

India on Tuesday banned 43 Chinese apps, including some from e-commerce giant Alibaba, for threatening “sovereignty and integrity.”

China said it had “serious concerns” about the move and “India’s alleged pretext to defend national security.”

“The relevant methods clearly violate market principles and WTO guidelines, and seriously harm the legal rights and interests of Chinese companies,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a regular press conference in Beijing.

“India must immediately redress these discriminatory methods to avoid further damage to bilateral cooperation,” he said.

New Delhi had previously pulled 59 Chinese apps, including the popular video-sharing platform TikTok, from its huge domestic market, with a further 118 Chinese mobile apps banned in September.

The final stretch of banned apps includes Alibaba’s AliExpress and Lalamove delivery service, as well as dating and live streaming services.

Alibaba’s investments in India’s burgeoning online marketplace include the Paytm digital payment platform and the BigBasket online grocery store.

Anti-China sentiment has skyrocketed in India since the standoff, prompting a call for a boycott of goods from the neighboring country.

India’s imports from China, dominated by toys, cosmetics, home appliances, auto components and steel, totaled $ 74.9 billion last year, according to New Delhi.

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