“Indian authorities have taken a series of repressive measures against Chinese companies and related products in India, which has seriously damaged the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies,” said Gao Feng, spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce, during a press conference in Beijing on Thursday.

The rebuke comes days after India blocked access to 54 apps in the country over security concerns, according to details shared this week with CNN Business by a senior government representative from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

Many of the banned apps are Chinese, belonging to tech companies such as Tencent, Alibaba and NetEase, Bloomberg reported, quoting unnamed sources.

Additionally, this week Chinese firm Huawei said India’s tax authorities “visited” its office in the country and met with some Huawei personnel.

“Huawei is confident our operations in India is firmly compliant to all laws and regulations,” the telecoms equipment maker said, adding that it will cooperate with the Indian government.

While the company did not give any other details, Reuters reported — quoting an unnamed source — that tax authorities conducted searches at the tech giant’s offices in New Delhi, Gurugram and Bangalore on Tuesday.

“Officials from the income tax department looked at Huawei’s financial documents, account books and company records, Indian businesses and overseas transactions, ” Reuters added, citing local media reports. “Some records were also seized.”

The income tax department did not respond to a request for comment.

This is not the first time India has banned Chinese apps. In 2020, India banned more than 200 mostly Chinese apps, including the wildly popular video platform TikTok.
While the Indian government’s statement on the TikTok ban had not mentioned China by name, it had come at a time when military tensions between the two countries were escalating following deadly border clashes. At the time, many Indians had called for a boycott of Chinese goods and services, particularly from China’s dominant tech industry.

Vedika Sud contributed reporting, along with the Beijing and New Delhi bureaus.

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