Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry, told reporters on Tuesday that the government was “strongly concerned” about the ban. He added that authorities were still “checking and verifying information on the situation.”
The move is the latest indication of escalating tensions between India and China, which engaged earlier this month in border clashes in the Himalayas that left at least 20 Indian soldiers dead.
The trading trading relationship between the two is vital, with India importing more goods from China than any other country. Now, the spat is spilling over into technology.
India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology said in a statement Monday that it had received many complaints about the misuse and transmission of user data by some mobile apps to servers outside India.
“The compilation of these data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defense of India … is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures,” the agency said.
TikTok, the hugely popular video platform owned by Chinese tech giant ByteDance, has been downloaded onto Indian phones 660 million times since its launch in 2017, according to analytics firm Sensor Tower.
“The Chinese government always asks Chinese businesses to abide by international rules and local laws and regulations in their business cooperation’s with foreign countries,” Zhao said Tuesday.
However, he added, the “Indian government has responsibility to uphold the legitimate rights of international investors, including Chinese ones.”
— Rishi Iyengar contributed to this report.