Google pulls Remove China Apps from Play Store for "dishonest" behaviour

Remove China apps

Remove China apps

The Remove China Apps became hugely popular in India as it crossed five million downloads from Google Play Store in just about 15 days since its launch. "Apps should provide value to users through the creation of unique content or services", the policy says.

Remove China Apps scanned users' phones for apps such as ByteDance's TikTok and Alibaba's UC Browser. The developer also sells an Android code for "Hashgram", a clone of Instagram ($19), "Binder", a dating app like Tinder ($44), and several other ready-to-use codes for e-commerce and food ordering websites. (TikTok is a Chinese app).

Despite its instant popularity, the app's background is cryptic. The app was created to identify the country of origin of apps installed on your Android smartphone and also as an added extra, delete them all in one go, should you want to.

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Public sentiment against China is running high. "Apps that crash, exhibit other behaviour that is not consistent with functional user experience, or that serve only to spam users or Google Play are not apps that expand the catalogue in a meaningful way". The study also found that several counterfeit apps request risky data access permissions despite not containing any known malware. For instance, will apps developed by overseas Chinese sound an alarm? User tests show that it flags the US video conferencing giant Zoom.

However, it was not able to detect apps pre-installed on Chinese-made smartphones. Does the fact that its founder Eric Yuan, an American citizen born in China, makes Zoom a "China app"?

The developers of the app said that it uses market research to determine an app's country of origin. There is no detail mentioned about where collected user data is stored, either.

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It marks a further setback for the video-clip app, which recently suffered a backlash in India over a spoof acid attack clip that led to users posting millions of one star reviews via Google's Play store.

Many are wary of rising anti-China sentiment overseas. Irfan Sheikh, founder of Qboxus, from whom the source code was bought said that they sell products as a template and so they mostly keep it simple and mostly put the attention on the cloning of features of trending apps.

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