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The best alternatives to Chinese apps banned in India
Last year, following a border dispute along the Sino-Indian border, India witnessed a rising anti-China sentiment that culminated with India banning over 60 popular Chinese apps. Caught in the crossfire, users have since been left scrambling to find the best alternatives to the banned Chinese apps. From TikTok to UC Browser and many more, the apps have enjoyed millions of users who need a quality option to switch over to.
Here are the best Chinese apps alternative options to replace each of the major banned apps in India.
Banned Chinese apps alternative options: The big names
Apps like PUBG
While PUBG Mobile is expected to make a comeback in India soon, the void left by the ban on PUBG has spurred many alternative options.
Call of Duty Mobile has become a particularly popular option through its focus on rich gameplay, high-quality graphics, and the sheer popularity of the franchise. The game includes a range of modes including team battles, as well as a PUBG-style battle royale mode. Unfortunately, the high-quality graphics means that the game doesn’t scale too well on low-powered phones, and you’ll need a fairly beefy smartphone to get started.
Read more: Best Battle Royale games on Android
Krafton, the original developer of PUBG, has made a comeback in the country with Battlegrounds Mobile India. The game is essentially a re-skinned version of PUBG Mobile with Indian servers, and all traces to China removed. The game also adds some additions to adhere to local sentiments including removing all traces of the word ‘kill’, replacing the color of blood from red to green, as well as adding play time warnings. The game is now available on the Play Store.
Garena Free Fire is another popular alternative that puts a unique spin on the Battle Royale genre. The game includes ten-minute matches with up to 50 players. Players can team up with up to three friends to create four-person squads with voice chat. Like most others, the game follows a freemium model, but the game remains enjoyable even if you opt not to make a purchase.
Apps like TikTok
Tiktok has quickly become a massive social media and video sharing phenomenon. With over 81 million users in India, TikTok played a big role in surfacing talent from smaller towns around India. Now among the banned apps, content creators may be looking for other apps like TikTok.
While Triller initially gained some some traction as an alternative with its filters and collaborative options like making group videos, it is the Indian alternative, Chingari that has capitalized on the gap left by TikTok. The app quickly gained traction following the ban on TikTok and as of March 2021, has a user base of over 46 million in India. The app includes monetization options for content creators and support for multiple Indian languages.
Apps like Camscanner
Camscanner has had multiple security issues over the years and wasn’t the most obvious recommendation even before it joined the list of banned apps in India. Thankfully, there are some great Camscanner alternatives.
Notebloc is a fantastic option that can easily serve in a pinch if you need to scan a document. The app does a great job at perspective correction, removing shadows, and can easily share scans over email or social media options. It can also export scans as PDFs and JPEGs.
Read more: Best document scanner apps for Android
Another excellent option is Adobe Scan that works much in the same way. Finally, if you are an Office 365 subscriber, the included Office Lens is a great Camscanner alternative thanks to its integration with OneDrive.
Apps like UC Browser / DU Browser
UC Browser enjoys a 10% share of the browser market in India, which translates to millions of users. This was largely because the app came pre-installed on millions of Chinese smartphones. However, there are many better options to chose from. To start with, the built-in Google Chrome browser on your phone should be your first stop. However, if you are looking for a broader feature-set, Firefox and Brave are great alternatives.
Read more: Best browsers for Android
Brave, in particular, has a focus on privacy and claims that it does not track any data at all. Personally, I prefer using Firefox Focus for glancing at quick links shared over social media since it automatically blocks all ad trackers, erases cookies, and passwords the moment you close the app.
Apps like ShareIt
ShareIt has long been a popular option for users to easily and, more importantly, quickly share files between phones. As far as apps like ShareIt go, Files by Google allows for much the same features without intrusive ads or snooping on your data.
Read more: Best file sharing apps for Android
While most apps only work across phones, an excellent cross-platform option, albeit without an app is Snapdrop.net. Pop-in to your browser on any device and head over to the website to quickly shoot over files and images over to other devices on the network. This is as close as you get to Apple’s Airdrop on Android devices.
Apps like BeautyPlus / YouCam Makeup
If you are an avid selfie-taker, Beauty Plus was likely on your list. The app promised to remove blemishes and enhance your selfies to make them more visually appealing. The app had clocked close to 300 million installs.
Read more: Best camera apps for Android
If the built-in selfie enhancement features on your smartphone don’t cut it for you, B612 is a good South Korean alternative that takes things a step further with its focus on skin and beauty enhancement as well as a boatload of filters that should satisfy the itch.
SODA app is another app that brings a filter set and even more exhaustive set of photo manipulation tools to the mix.
Apps like Clean Master / DU Battery Saver
Simply put, you do not need an app that promises to boost performance or improve battery life to keep your phone running optimally. If you feel that a particular app is starting to bog down your device, just head over to settings and clear the cache.
Read more: Best tools and utility apps for Android
Banned Chinese apps alternative options: Other apps
In addition to the more prominent apps mentioned above, the list contains a fair few utilities and smaller apps that might have you searching for an alternative. Here are some Chinese apps alternative options for more of the banned apps:
- DU Recorder — AZ Screen Recorder
- DU Privacy — Solid File Explorer
- Baidu Translate — Google Translate
- QQ Music — YouTube Music, Spotify
- QQ NewsFeed — Google News
- VivaVideo — FilmoraGo
- ES File Explorer — Solid File Explorer
- Mi Video Calling — Google Duo, Skype
- Parallel Space — Built-in to phones, Dual Apps
Those are our picks for the banned Chinese apps alternatives. We’ll update this list if any better alternatives become available.