The famous video-sharing app, TikTok has disappeared from Google Play Store and Apple's App Store following the Indian government’s decision on Monday to ban 59 Chinese apps.
On Tuesday morning, the TikTok app disappeared from Google Play Store and could not be downloaded from its website as well. It was also not found on iPhone's App Store. The same happened to the app Helo. However, the other 57 apps could be downloaded easily from either Play Store or their respective websites.
Google told Outlook, “We are still reviewing the order.”
Nikhil Gandhi, Head of TikTok India, said in a statement that the company was in process of complying with the government order. "We have been invited to meet with concerned government stakeholders for an opportunity to respond and submit clarifications," he said.
Gandhi further said, "TikTok continues to comply with all data privacy and security requirements under Indian law and has not shared any information of our users with any foreign government, including the Chinese government. Further if we are requested to in the future we would not do so. We place the highest importance on user privacy and integrity."
The Indian government on Monday night decided to ban 59 Chinese apps including TikTok, CamScanner, WeChat, Club Factory and UC Browser, stating that they are engaged in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order. According to government sources, the decision is from “immediate effect” and has been conveyed to Google Play store, Apple Play Store and Amazon Play store.
The Ministry of Information Technology in a press statement on Monday night had said that it has received many complaints from various sources including several reports about misuse of some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms for stealing and surreptitiously transmitting user data in an unauthorised manner to servers which have locations outside of India. "The compilation of these data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defence of India, which ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India, is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures," the statement said.
In April, TikTok India head Nikhil Gandhi had said that the company has around 1,000 employees across eight locations. After the government order, their future is uncertain.
Besides, the app’s parent company Bytedance was also planning to hire around 10,000 people across different locations in 2020, including India. It has planned to invest US $ 1 billion in the Indian business during 2020-2022.
The government decision comes at a time when India-China tension has been brewing over LAC dispute in Ladakh and a section of people has been demanding banning of Chinese products and apps.