Indian app that deleted Chinese apps from Androids deleted from Play Store

Consumer boycott clicktivism at a time of border tensions? There was, briefly, a million-download app for that

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Google has removed an app called "Remove China Apps" from its Android Play Store.

The app, published by Indian developer OneTouch AppLabs, advised Android users of the nation of origin for all apps installed on their smartphone and offered to delete them. The company says the app was downloaded a million times in ten days, a fact supported by its cached Google Play page. But OneTouch AppLabs said Google took issue with the app and it's no longer available.

After removing Chinese apps, the program delivered this cheery notification.

Let's break down those hashtags.

#AatmanirbharBharat refers to India's new policy named "Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan" – which translates as "self-reliant India mission". OneTouch AppLabs explicitly states that the app aims to support the self-reliance policy "by identifying the origin country of the applications installed in their mobile phones".

#ChinaIndiaFaceoff refers to recent border skirmishes between India and China in the Kashmir region. Those clashes have hardened Indian sentiment against China, which explains the #BoycottChineseProducts hashtag.

So what we have here is an app that, in the days after armed conflict, facilitated a consumer boycott seemingly as an expression of a self-reliance policy.

Yet while the app encouraged Indians to boycott Chinese apps, the nation yesterday announced ambitions to become a global electronics supplier. At the launch of that policy, India's IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said Chinese investors would be considered for new incentive schemes on offer.

What a time to be alive. ®


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