Chinese App Detector Banned From Google

John Lister's picture

Google has removed an app designed to highlight any Chinese-made apps on an Android device. The straightforwardly-named "Remove China Apps" was particularly popular in India, where it was developed.

Exactly why the app was removed isn't clear other than Google saying it violated unspecified app-store policies. Based on what the developers claim, it doesn't appear to pose any serious security or privacy risks. It didn't actually remove any apps but instead produced a list that the user could manually install.

Border Dispute Sparks Boycott

While security concerns about Chinese tech have become a talking point in the West, the popularity of Remove China Apps is more likely to do with local political issues. It comes amid a dispute over the border between India and China that's led to boycotts of Chinese goods and services.

The app reportedly had almost five million downloads in India within five days and was briefly the most popular in the country in the official Google Play Store.

Detection Methods Unclear

The performance of the app and its methods for determining a Chinese app was somewhat questionable as one of the apps it removed was video conferencing tool Zoom. The service was founded by a Chinese-born person but the company and app are in California.

The developers have a poorly worded disclaimer that reads "Detecting the country of origin is based on the market research, but we do not guarantee for any correct/wrong information, so users should act only at their own will." (Source:

Meanwhile, Remove China Apps was unable to spot and remove pre-installed Chinese apps on some Android handsets made in China that are particularly cheap and thus popular in developing markets such as India.

An online community had built up recommending Indian-built alternatives to "Chinese" apps highlighted through this process. However, some of these appeared to have been quickly developed and in some cases "borrowed" code from elsewhere. (Source:

What's Your Opinion?

Should Google have removed this app? Is it a tool you'd be interested in using? Should apps be subject to political boycotts in the same way as physical products?

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Chief's picture

We have here, exhibit A:

An app that poses no security risk whatsoever.
An app that creates a list and presents it to the user.


It allows users to think for themselves!

Dear Google: Who's your master?