01:13 GMT08 March 2021
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    Amid an ongoing border standoff with China, India banned over 200 Chinese apps from operating in the country citing national security concerns. Several popular apps including mobile game PUBG and video-making app TikTok also lost India as a massive market. Calling it a "digital strike", India began the app-ban spree against China in June 2020.

    Following the Indian government's further extension of a Chinese app ban, short video-making app TikTok has officially begun to downsize its team of over 2,000 employees in India.

    Vanessa Pappas, the global head of TikTok addressed her India employees on Wednesday via a letter, informing them about the company's layoff plans with immediate effect.

    "As you can imagine, the magnitude of this decision is not easy. For the last several months, our management team has worked tirelessly to avoid having to separate anyone from the company. We've cut expenses, while still paying benefits. However, we simply cannot responsibly stay fully staffed while our apps remain un-operational", the letter sent by Pappas to employees reads.

    The letter also noted that TikTok is unsure whether will it be allowed to return to India – where it had over 600 million users.

    Following its ban in India last June, TikTok's parent company ByteDance, that has its Indian head office in Gurugram, had reportedly stopped hiring in the country. 

    The Chinese app, at the time, had also reassigned senior employees to management roles abroad, especially in its Middle Eastern and Australia-based offices, after some of its staff members exited the company following India's ban on TikTok.

    After being banned for more than seven months, it remains unclear if TikTok and other forbidden Chinese apps will ever be able to re-establish themselves in India.

    Commenting on the Indian government reportedly extending the ban on Chinese apps, spokesperson from the Chinese Embassy in India, Ji Rong said that "these moves in violation of WTO non-discriminatory principles and fair competition principles of market economy severely damage the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies. The Chinese side firmly opposes them".  

    "These moves of the Indian government have also hindered the improvement of the Indian business environment and the innovative development of related Indian industries. We urge the Indian side to immediately correct its discriminatory measures and avoid causing further damage to bilateral cooperation", Rong added. 

    In addition, the Indo-China border conflict that erupted in April 2020, still remains unresolved even after several rounds of diplomatic talks between official representatives from both nations. 

    In April, troops from both countries accused each other of violating the Line of Actual Control (LAC) that runs along Ladakh.


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