Here’s Why Google Removed Mitron, Remove China Apps from Play Store

BY Asif Shaik

Published 3 Jun 2020

Google Play Store

Over the past few days, two Android apps—Mitron and Remove China Apps—have been trending in India for different reasons. Now, both apps have been removed by Google from the Play Store. And now we know the reason why the internet search giant had to remove them.

What is Mitron, and why Google removed it from the Play Store?

Mitron, an app that was seen as an Indian alternative to Chinese app TikTok, had been trending. Some Indian consumers started preferring it over TikTok due to anti-China sentiments. It was earlier reported that the app was created by Indian developers. However, it was later discovered that the source code of the app was purchased from Pakistani firm Qboxus for just $34 and then rebranded as Mitron.

The CEO of Qboxus, Irfan Sheikh, told News18, “There is no problem with what the developer has done. He paid for the script and used it, which is okay. But, the problem is with people referring to it as an Indian-made app, which is not true, especially because they have not made any changes.” Following this development, Google red-flagged Mitron and removed it from the Play Store. By then it had garnered over 5 million installs.

Google removed Mitron from the Play Store for violating its ‘spam and minimum functionality’ policy. This means that the app was copying content from other apps and not producing enough original content by itself (or from its users). Google clearly mentions in its policy that it doesn’t allow apps that provide the same experience as that of other apps that are already listed on the Play Store and don’t add enough value on their own.

Why was Remove China Apps removed from the Google Play Store?

‘Remove China Apps’ is an app that promises to remove Chinese origin apps and games from an Android smartphone. It was booted from the Play Store as well. The app was developed by Jaipur-based OneTouchAppLabs and people started installing it due to anti-China sentiments following tensions between China and India at the border. Over 5 million Indian consumers installed Remove China Apps.

It tried to list all the apps and games that are developed by Chinese firms and are installed on the smartphone. However, it was not wholly reliable as it didn’t list games like PUBG Mobile, which is developed by the Chinese Internet and gaming giant Tencent. Google then booted the app from the Play Store as it seemed to violate the ‘Deceptive Behavior Policy.’

As per Google’s Play Store policy, apps can’t make changes to a user’s device settings or features outside the app without a user’s knowledge or consent. The policy also states that an app can’t encourage or incentivize users into installing other third-party apps.