The ban on 59 apps by the Indian government was a big jolt for China’s tech behemoths such as Tencent and ByteDance as their popular apps were affected. While TikTok and the other banned apps were completely blocked and made unavailable for download, existing users of WeChat were able to send and receive messages even after the ban was imposed.
On Saturday, that changed. WeChat officially restricted its users in India from sending and receiving messages.
“Pursuant to Indian law we are unable to offer you WeChat at this time. We value each of our users, and data security and privacy are of utmost importance to us. We are engaging with relevant authorities and hope to be able to resume service in the future,” said WeChat in a notification to its users.
Several users who were automatically logged out from the WeChat app, took to Twitter to report the issue. Entrackr has reached out to WeChat for comment.
The restriction on WeChat users will be an issue for Chinese nationals working in India. It was a sort of a lifeline for them as they were largely dependent on the instant messaging app for communicating.
“We weren’t affected by the ban of TikTok or any other apps but the absence of WeChat will hamper our social and professional communications in India,” said a Chinese national based in Gurugram. “Since we don’t use email for official communication, we have been cut off from our headquarters based in China.”
On Friday, a media report said that the Indian government is planning to ban more apps, especially of Chinese origin. The report also said that the lite versions of the banned apps which were still available for download, had been removed from the download stores.
The latest list of lite versions of banned apps include HAGO Lite, Helo Lite, ShareIt Lite, and VFY Lite, Likee Lite, Bigo Live Lite, and Viva Video Lite while Parallel Space Lite and some other lite apps are still available on the Android download store.