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Google Pulls Chinese-App Remover From Android for Violations

Saritha Rai

(Bloomberg) -- Google pulled an application from its Play Store that helps users delete Chinese games and other software from their Android smartphones, citing violations of its policies.

The controversial software, Remove China Apps, had drawn millions of downloads in India as tensions between the two countries surged. The program was developed by little-known OneTouch AppLabs, based in Jaipur.

China and India have been gathering thousands of troops at a disputed border in a remote area of the Himalayas. The two countries have had a long history of territorial clashes dating back decades.

Remove China Apps was designed to be as straightforward as its name. After a smartphone user downloads the software, it helps identify the country of origin for apps installed on the phone, highlighting Chinese ones and suggesting steps for removal.

OneTouch AppLabs did not immediately respond to questions. Its website now has a message that thanks customers for their support and confirms Google’s decision to remove the app. The app creators then provided this workaround:

“TIP: Its easy to find the origin of any app by searching on google by typing origin country

Stay Tuned !! Stay Safe!!”

The action came not long after Alphabet Inc.’s Google removed from the Play Store an app called Mitron, which is a popular alternative to TikTok, backed by China’s ByteDance Ltd. Google cited the violation of a policy on repetitive content for the removal.

“When violations of these policies are identified, we have an established process of working with developers to help them find remedies,” a Google spokesman said in a statement regarding Mitron.

(Updates with comments from spokesman on Mitron in the last paragraph.)

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