In a bizarre and slightly unsettling recent turn of events, an Indian app that reportedly helps people delete or disable apps of Chinese origin has enjoyed massive, if brief, success on the Google Play store before being removed by Google.
The free app, called Remove China Apps, was, the developer Onetouch Applabs argued, just a way of informing people of an app’s country of origin. However, Google took the name literally, as quite a lot of users probably did too.
Remove China Apps had been a hit app on Google's mobile app store in India with more than five million downloads since late May. It highlighted Chinese apps and suggesting steps for removal, after which a message apparently said: "You are awesome, no China app found."
Google eventually took the app down from the Google Play store, pointing out that its policies do not permit apps designed solely to help uninstall other apps.
There are other factors at play here, of course. ‘Atm Nirbhar Bharat’ or ‘a self-reliant India’, is a much-touted government slogan of late, and tensions have flared up at a disputed border between India and China. Both of these could have contributed to anti-Chinese sentiment.
As well as Remove China Apps, the Mitron app, promoted as an Indian alternative to China's TikTok, has also gone, though it is not precisely clear why. According to Indian press reports, the Mitron app, which had over five million downloads, may have had security issues and could make a comeback when these are fixed.