China accuses India of discrimination over latest app ban


BEIJING (AFP): Beijing lashed out at India on Wednesday (Nov 25) after it banned another tranche of Chinese apps for national security reasons, the latest sore point between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.

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

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

China said it had "serious concerns" about the move and India's "so-called pretext of upholding national security".

"The relevant methods clearly violate market principles and WTO guidelines, and severely harm Chinese companies' legal rights and interests," said foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian at a regular press briefing in Beijing.

"India should immediately redress these discriminative methods to avoid even bigger damage to bilateral cooperation," he said.

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

The latest tranche of banned apps includes Alibaba's AliExpress and delivery service Lalamove, as well as dating and live-streaming services.

Alibaba's investments in the booming Indian online market include digital payments platform Paytm and online grocer BigBasket.

Anti-China sentiment has soared in India since the clash and sparked calls for a boycott of goods from the neighbouring country.

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

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