The urge to remove Chinese apps has gained momentum ever since PM Modi launched his ‘Vocal for Local’ initiative. This has also risen from the recent fears over security issues with having Chinese apps on a device and the recent tensions between the two countries over the Ladakh border dispute. To help people who support this cause, here is a list of Chinese apps and their alternatives that are safer to use: –
TikTok – YouTube
TikTok has for long been criticised because a lot of the content depicts animal cruelty and other objectionable content depicting children and their exploitation.
This alternative app not only let you watch short videos from around the globe but also allow creating your videos. Hence, they can be powerful alternatives to Chinese apps like TikTok.
UC Browser – Google Chrome
UC Browser, the Chinese browser by Alibaba-owned UCWeb, flaunts fast speed and enhanced browsing speeds to garner downloads. However, there have been endless stories of the app having vulnerabilities and stealing private data to an unknown server in China.
There are better browsers than UC like Google Chrome which offers stable experience. There are also Indian browsers like Jio Browser.
Viva Video – InShot
Used by millions of people across the globe, VivaVideo is a video editing app that comes from Chinese developer QuVideo. However, it poses certain privacy risks and may not be preferred by everyone.
InShot comes with a similar vertical interface with similar tools on offer, including trim, split, merge, add music, filter & effects, sticker, etc.
Beauty Plus – Picsart
Beauty Plus is a famous photo editing app from Chinese developers. Apps like Picsart should serve as a suitable alternative. This app offer similar features for the most part, including beauty filters, makeup effects, stickers, and more.
App Lock – Norton App Lock
The App Lock by DoMobile is the top-rated app locking tool on Google Play Store. It is registered in Hong Kong, which has its own limited autonomy, compared to mainland China.
In comparison, Norton App Lock comes from a reputable American company. It lets you lock applications with either PIN, pattern, or fingerprint scanner. You also get parental control and sneak peek feature. Moreover, it is entirely free to use and doesn’t have annoying ads on offer.
PUBG – Fortnite
PUBG for PC and console was developed by PUBG Corporation- a subsidiary of Korean game developer, Bluehole. However, the mobile version is produced by the Chinese gaming company as Chinese games.
Fortnite is the closest alternative to this. It is from Epic Games, US.
WeChat – WhatsApp
WeChat is a Chinese all-in-one messaging, social media, and mobile payment app developed by Tencent. Millions of people in China use it. The app inspects messages, photos, and content shared on the platform and stores them with user info. It’s easily accessible to the Chinese government, making it no less than spyware.
One can uninstall the app and switch to WhatsApp, which offers end-to-end encryption and has all features you would want, including file sharing, location sharing, voice, and video calls, etc
Helo – ShareChat
Helo is another Chinese app that has had a huge success in the Indian market. It’s a social media platform for discovering viral content and sharing them with friends and communities. The app offers its service in more than 14 Indian languages and it’s currently one of the top-ranking apps on the Play Store. However, a recent survey done by an Indian consulting group confirmed that Helo and other Chinese apps seek excessive personal information from users. Helo wants access to the camera and microphone even when such access is not required.
ShareChat is an app based out of India and it offers content in 15 regional languages. The app has strict content policy so that inappropriate content remains at bay.
SHAREit – Files by Google
ShareIt started as a file transfer application, but now it has pivoted to a content platform just like Helo and ShareChat. As a result, the app has moved from its primary goal and now mostly caters to content creators. Apart from that, ShareIt was found with two security vulnerabilities last year that allowed attackers to download content from a user’s device by evading the device authentication mechanism. Along with that, data like Facebook tokens and cookies were also transferred.
Files by Google can act as your file manager too and you can seamlessly send and receive files without any ad or content notification. Files by Google is also quite fast and can go up to 150Mbps while transferring files.
CamScanner – Adobe Scan
CamScanner is s popular document scanner app and it’s run by INTSIG, a Chinese company based in Shanghai. Last year, it was removed from the Play Store after Kaspersky found a Trojan Horse module inside the CamScanner app. The researchers said that “Trojan downloader can download malicious modules depending on what its creators are up to at the moment”. Later the malicious code was removed and the app was back on Play Store. However, we have seen this pattern from many Chinese apps including ES File Explorer.
Adobe Scan is a suitable alternative to this. One can get batch mode, crisp scanning just like CamScanner, OCR, Edge detection, and many more advanced features.
The above alternatives should remove our dependence on Chinese apps and at the same time keep our devices safe from malicious intents.