India's TikTok stars feel pained by government app ban
Updated: Sep 1, 2020
MUMBAI (Reuters) - Geetha Sridhar never used to enter her kitchen in Mumbai without her smartphone. The 54-year-old homemaker used to post dozens of short videos daily on the Chinese video app TikTok, mostly of herself cooking traditional recipes.
With 1 million TikTok followers, she earned an average 50,000 rupees ($662) a month from companies who paid her to use their products.
For thousands of Indian content creators like Sridhar, TikTok was a window into fame and fortune. But on Tuesday, the app, owned by China’s ByteDance, went blank on phones across India after the government banned it along with 58 other Chinese-origin apps which it considered a threat to national sovereignty.
The move came weeks after a deadly skirmish between Indian and Chinese soldiers along the disputed Himalayan border.
TikTok was a sensation in India. With more than 600 million downloads, India accounted for 30% of its 2 billion downloads worldwide. ByteDance planned to invest $1 billion in India, its top growth market where it employs 2,000 people.