India takes aim at Alibaba with new round of Chinese app bans

43 apps axed, including those helping buyers and sellers of digital tat bazaar

India has banned another 43 apps from operating in its territory.

As was the case with previous bans, India's Ministry of Electronics & IT (MEITY) said the prohibited apps are “engaging in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order.” Just how the apps do that was not explained in the announcement of the new ban.

The new list includes Alibaba's apps for both buyers and sellers, plus an app named Alipay Cashier that facilitates AliPay payments.

Whether India worries that Alibaba is misusing locals’ data, represents a threat to local payment schemes, or has been censured for otherwise behaving badly is not known. What is certain is that India and China have recently skirmished on a disputed border and previous app bans were interpreted as a de facto reprisals. India is also running a self-sufficiency drive that it hopes will increase local production to the point at which buyers beyond its shores consider it a viable rival to China as an offshore manufacturing destination.

BRICS nations - Brazil Russia India China South Africa

BRICS bloc – home to 40 percent of humanity – wants to drive global e-commerce consumer protection rules


While banning Alibaba’s apps for shoppers cuts off a huge potential market for the Chinese company, the ban on apps for suppliers stops Indian companies using the Chinese company as a sales platform to reach the world. Just how that helps India was not explained.

Several dating apps made the new deny-list. Such apps can sometimes harvest data or include risqué content, or both. Either would be enough for India to swing its ban-hammer.

However it is harder to understand why office space company WeWork’s Chinese app has run afoul of regulators, or why Hong-Kong-based food delivery app Lalamove has made the list.

The new round of bans means India has now forbidden more than 200 China-linked apps from operating in its territory.

Some have tried to find ways back into the nation, with shooting game PUBG making the most elaborate attempt by cutting ties with China and promising a $100m investment in India’s gaming industry. ®

Broader topics

Other stories you might like

  • Deepfake attacks can easily trick live facial recognition systems online
    Plus: Next PyTorch release will support Apple GPUs so devs can train neural networks on their own laptops

    In brief Miscreants can easily steal someone else's identity by tricking live facial recognition software using deepfakes, according to a new report.

    Sensity AI, a startup focused on tackling identity fraud, carried out a series of pretend attacks. Engineers scanned the image of someone from an ID card, and mapped their likeness onto another person's face. Sensity then tested whether they could breach live facial recognition systems by tricking them into believing the pretend attacker is a real user.

    So-called "liveness tests" try to authenticate identities in real-time, relying on images or video streams from cameras like face recognition used to unlock mobile phones, for example. Nine out of ten vendors failed Sensity's live deepfake attacks.

    Continue reading
  • Lonestar plans to put datacenters in the Moon's lava tubes
    How? Founder tells The Register 'Robots… lots of robots'

    Imagine a future where racks of computer servers hum quietly in darkness below the surface of the Moon.

    Here is where some of the most important data is stored, to be left untouched for as long as can be. The idea sounds like something from science-fiction, but one startup that recently emerged from stealth is trying to turn it into a reality. Lonestar Data Holdings has a unique mission unlike any other cloud provider: to build datacenters on the Moon backing up the world's data.

    "It's inconceivable to me that we are keeping our most precious assets, our knowledge and our data, on Earth, where we're setting off bombs and burning things," Christopher Stott, founder and CEO of Lonestar, told The Register. "We need to put our assets in place off our planet, where we can keep it safe."

    Continue reading
  • Conti: Russian-backed rulers of Costa Rican hacktocracy?
    Also, Chinese IT admin jailed for deleting database, and the NSA promises no more backdoors

    In brief The notorious Russian-aligned Conti ransomware gang has upped the ante in its attack against Costa Rica, threatening to overthrow the government if it doesn't pay a $20 million ransom. 

    Costa Rican president Rodrigo Chaves said that the country is effectively at war with the gang, who in April infiltrated the government's computer systems, gaining a foothold in 27 agencies at various government levels. The US State Department has offered a $15 million reward leading to the capture of Conti's leaders, who it said have made more than $150 million from 1,000+ victims.

    Conti claimed this week that it has insiders in the Costa Rican government, the AP reported, warning that "We are determined to overthrow the government by means of a cyber attack, we have already shown you all the strength and power, you have introduced an emergency." 

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022