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Explained: The India-China spat, TikTok derailed

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07/03/2020 | 07:37am EDT

TikTok was a viral sensation in India.

But it's now banned and branded a security threat following India's deadly military skirmish with China.

This is how an app known for goofy dance videos has become embroiled in a political spat between two nuclear-armed neighbors.

In mid-June, 20 Indian soldiers were killed after hand-to-hand fighting with Chinese troops.

Details of Chinese casualties are unclear.

It happened in the Galwan region of Ladakh, in the western Himalayas, one point on a 2,500-mile long contested border.

India and China are the world's most populous countries and both claim vast swathes of each other's territory.

Some disagreements stem from colonial demarcations, made when India was under British rule.

India and China fought a brief war in 1962, a ceasefire line was drawn up, and there have been flare-ups ever since - notably a major border clash in 1967 resulting in hundreds of deaths.

The last major dispute was in 2017. So why the flare up now?

Well, one reason cited is that India has been building roads and airfields nearby.

The Chinese side boasts superior infrastructure - and India wants to catch up.

The June incident caused protests across India and increased scrutiny of Chinese imports.

But the government's strongest move yet has been to ban nearly five dozen apps, including TikTok.

The app is owned by Chinese parent ByteDance, which had a $1 billion Indian expansion in the pipeline.

India was TikTok's top growth market, accounting for 30% of its global downloads.

It provided a window into fame and fortune for many.

Unlike Facebook and Twitter, TikTok resonated not only in cities, but in India's hinterland as well.

Users ranged from remote villagers to top Bollywood stars.

But growth ambitions have been derailed after it was branded a threat to security.

It's not the first time. TikTok was banned briefly last year after a state court said it encouraged pornography.

Every month the app was dark on phones cost the company around $15 million.

Experts say an overturning of the current ban is slim, however, given it is on national security grounds.

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
FACEBOOK -0.85% 249.83 Delayed Quote.22.76%
UNITED PARCEL SERVICE 1.79% 144.72 Delayed Quote.21.46%
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