New Delhi: India last month had outlawed 59 Chinese apps following a skirmish between Indian and Chinese forces on the Galwan Valley stretch. Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in the skirmish. The Centre said that the apps threatened India’s sovereignty and security. Top officials in the government described the ban as a ‘digital strike’. Now some of the companies of these Chinese apps are hitting back by sacking Indian employees.
‘UCWeb’ is one of the 59 apps banned by the Indian government. The ‘UCWeb’ entered India a decade ago and operated the browser along with a news app. It also operated the ‘Vmate’ short video app. The app company has told some Indian employees in a letter dated July 15 that they are losing their jobs.
“This termination is on account of the ban imposed by the government of India on ‘UCWeb’ and ‘Vmate’. It has hampered the company’s ability to continue providing services in India,” the company said in the letter. ‘UCWeb’ also said in a statement that it had complied with the government order and stopped services.
Chinese e-commerce giant ‘Alibaba’ declined to comment. ‘UCWeb’ is a subsidiary of ‘Alibaba’
UC Browser had 130 million monthly active users in India. The company has a little less than 100 direct employees in India. Also it has hundreds of third-party workers, sources said.
Another banned app, an e-commerce service called ‘Club Factory’ (CF), has written to its Indian sellers saying it is invoking a ‘force majeure’ clause. Thus it is freeing itself from contractual obligations.
“We hereby wish to inform that all settlements with sellers on the CF app and website are hereby being put on hold. This will continue until the ban of the CF app and website is lifted,” the firm said in a letter to some 30,000 Indian sellers.
The India app ban requires a temporary halt of business activities. The company is working with the government to resolve their queries, ‘Club Factory’ said in a statement.
Operators of the banned apps, which include the TikTok video service, have been asked by India to answer 77 questions. Among the questions are whether they censored content and worked on behalf of foreign governments or lobbied influencers.