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The Chinese Apps’ disappearance and the emergence of their knockoffs

The Chinese Apps’ disappearance and the emergence of their knockoffs
It’s been only a few days that the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) banned the 59 Chinese apps, that a swarm of alternative apps has started showing its presence on the app stores of Google and Apple. Not all of them are new Roposo, which is on the lines of TikTok, has been around for a few years. It has witnessed an exponential surge in its subscriber base and now asserts of having 100 million users. However, not all new entrants can lay a claim to such steep growth. The newbies are also not celebrated for offering robust security and privacy features as that of the established players. This makes them prone to hacking or stealing of critical user data. A lot of unreliable apps, too, have mushroomed to milk the anti-China sentiment after having downloaded entire app codes from online marketplaces like Codecanyon. “These apps can be bought from online market places for prices as low as Rs. 3000. These scripts are easy to buy and even the owner of the apps does not know how the app works. Now, if ten people buy the same script, all the apps will have the same flaw,” independent security researcher, Indrajeet Bhuyan, said. The TikTok clone, Mitron, which was claimed to have been bought from a Pakistani coding company for $34, was earlier removed from the Google Play store because of data privacy violations. However, it has now been restored to the play store. The problems with these new apps It is unclear as to the permissions sought by these new apps on the device. With little knowledge about who owns these platforms and whether the app’s code also scans and stores private data of a user, no one is likely to be held accountable in case of a breach. While the established apps are very well aware that their reputation is at stake and thereby seek only the required data to run the program, the new entrants, who have hurried to bag their share in the vacuum, don’t fear the loss of reputation. Even if they are reading and storing the user’s private chat, no one is finding it out as there is no way to know what their codes contain. Going forward Experts, however, don’t believe these knockoffs will become world-class products over time and that the genuine players in the various segments, where there is an opportunity due to the exit of the Chinese apps, will thrive, gradually, in the long run. The Indian app-ecosystem will flourish most when the domestic apps become globally, or at least, regionally competitive and are marketed aggressively.

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