Google has removed a famous “Remove China Apps” application from the Google Play Store after the Android app became one of India’s most-downloaded apps in recent weeks.
The app may not mean much to many outside of India, but developer OneTouch AppLabs has promised it will help you detect any apps developed in China that would allow you to remove them from your device much quicker. The app was downloaded impressively 4.7 million times between May 27 and June 1 (via FT), according to Sensor Tower data.
Unlike the recent removal of feedback from the listing of TikTok Play Store, the app was flat-out swipped from the online application portal. TechCrunch has since noticed that Remove China Apps were being taken down for violating the Deceptive Conduct Policy of the Google Play Store.
This policy states that without user awareness or consent, an app on the Google Play Store can not make adjustments to a user device settings, or features outside this update. The most damning thing is that the Deceptive Behaviour Policy explicitly notes that an app does not allow users to delete or disable third-party apps — which is obviously the main aim of removing China Apps.
The app has risen in popularity in recent months as anti-China sentiment has risen in India. The latest Himalayan border conflict is said to have further escalated those tensions. Given that the vast majority of smartphone hardware sold and used globally has roots in China — from development to manufacturing — this seems like an unusual Indian users target of ire.
The developers used “market research” to decide exactly where an app originated, and did not guarantee accuracy, according to OneTouch ‘s website. Remove China Apps, despite all of this, has since been been dropped from the Google Play Store. If you’re worried, you’ll simply have to delete apps manually without a dodgy third-party app to support.