Guwahati Influencers Urge Indian Apps to Step Up Their Game
The government of India, on June 29, banned 59 mobile applications including apps like TikTok, Likee, online shopping apps like Shein and Club Factory and many other utility apps such as Cam Scanner and UC Browser among others.
The decision was taken due to raging concerns over aspects relating to data security and safeguarding privacy of Indian citizens. Ever since the decision was taken, social media platforms began flooding with posts with people arguing over the boon and bane of Chinese apps being banned.
While most believed that the ban opened up new avenues for Indian brands to kick themselves up a notch, others simply flowed along with the “Boycott China” emotion. Before India, many other countries had initially thought of shunning China as the country was being held accountable for perpetrating the dreaded Wuhan Virus in the world.
To learn how social media influencers would be affected by the ban, G Plus got in touch with youngsters from Guwahati who have hundreds of thousands of followers on TikTok and Likee apps which are among the apps banned.
Fashion influencers on Instagram were also approached to comprehend how big a loss it was for them considering the fact that some of the most affordable shopping apps like Club Factory and Shein will now be out of bounds for Indian customers.
“I’d be lying if I said that I have not been affected, because I have. Keeping in mind that 50 percent of the clothing items in my wardrobe are all from Shein, I was pretty close to the brand,” said Peri Brahma, fashion and lifestyle influencer on Instagram.
Such apps have redefined the scenario of fashion in the Indian society where clothing symbolizes a person’s status to a large extent. Through such online shopping apps, common people had gained access to a kind of clothing style which was earlier only associated with elitist ideals of clothing.
“I have also been working with Shein for the past two years. It catered a lot to the students, not just because of its affordability but the trends that it allowed us to keep up with and not just clothes, we got everything that was trending on the app, right from accessories to home décor or even stationary on Shein,” she added on a variety of products which were available on the Chinese app.
“This also opens new horizons for the home-grown brands which would be really exciting and I’ll be looking forward to that. We have a lot to look forward to but at the same time we’ll have to step out of that comfort zone that Shein had provided us,” said Brahma.
“As a fashion content creator it is really hard to see Shein in the list of banned apps as it was not really expected. But we do have apps like Myntra; we do have Koovs and Amazon but when it comes to style and price, I guess Shein was always on the top. Also these apps had their own warehouses in India; their own offices and workers here who could be affected,” said Mithu Saikia, a fashion and lifestyle content creator on Instagram and Likee platforms.
“According to the government if these apps are collecting our data and stealing our data then we should definitely stop using these applications. It is high time for Indian fashion brands to come forward in the fashion industry,” said the social media influencer, urging Indian brands to step ahead and utilize the opportunity to take over the Indian markets.
“Even I make TikTok videos but the current scenario of our country is such that government’s move to ban these apps is not such a big deal. It is good news for us, because, like every other app, even TikTok has its own pros and cons. Short 15 second videos on TikTok have helped Assamese short films; their dialogues and music gain popularity from these videos which can be created very easily,” said Rabbani Soyam, TikTok and YouTube content creator on how these social media platforms had helped promote regional content among wider audiences.
“These 15 second videos make vernacular content popular. Since, we are in India and TikTok is a Chinese app, we should avoid using it. Even better apps should be developed in India for us to use,” said the influencer on the need for similar Indian apps.
Alibaba’s AliExpress was among the few Chinese apps that will continue to be available for Indian users alongside other Chinese apps like App Lock by DoMobile and M V Master that have not been banned yet. Alibaba is another Chinese company and tech giant which is considered the world’s leading wholesale marketplace for traders, operating in India since 2008.
To some, it comes as a surprise that apps like these have not been banned despite India ranking number one on Alibaba’s analysis of top 10 global seller distribution list. There are speculations being made over a possibility of ban of these apps and there is information doing rounds on the internet of these apps being kept under review but chances of that happening could be thin due to the company’s huge investments in Indian companies like Big Basket, PayTM and Zomato.
The ban on the 59 Chinese apps has undoubtedly left behind those people whose livelihoods were solely dependent on these applications. Some of these banned apps were e-commerce apps with thousands of people employed under them for carrying out operations in India.
Some of these apps even provided a platform for digital content creators to put forth their skills and talents and these content creators too have lost millions of audiences built over years. Utility apps which were once on our fingertips have now been terminated and all those people who were in some way or the other associated with these apps will perhaps face minor to major inconveniences from the ban.
Whether this ‘Digital Strike’ was just India’s muscle flexing against China or whether the decision will truly safeguard data of Indian users is the question that still remains.