At a time when the U.S. government is targeting smartphone and networking equipment manufacturer Huawei, investigating short-form video app Tik Tok, and trying to kick China Telecom out of the country, a new app called Remove China Apps seeks to flag apps developed in China. Found in the Google Play Store (and just removed by Google), the app became the most downloaded title on Google's Android app storefront over the weekend. It was launched just two weeks ago.
The developers of the app said that it uses market research to determine an app's country of origin. While the title of the app makes it sound as though it automatically deletes apps developed in China, the developer says that it "will list Applications and respective country name, choose which app you want to uninstall and which app you want to keep, and uninstall the apps one by one in single click." The Play Store listing says that it was "being developed for educational purposes only."
According to Android Authority, the app had one million installs listed by the end of Sunday and that number soared to five million yesterday. The developer, OneTouch AppLabs, is located in India where anti-Chinese sentiment has been on the rise. The developer's website states that the point of creating the app is to support Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call for "Atm Nirbhar Bharat" or a self-reliant India. The developer states that the "Remove China App will help people to support 'Atm Nirbhar Bharat' by identifying the origin country of the applications installed in their mobile phones." The developer also calls the app safe to install because it doesn't ask for any permissions from your phone.
Android Authority tested Remove China Apps and found that it did pick up TikTok and Xiaomi's Mi Remote on an Android phone but failed to flag Chinese developer Tencent Games' PUBG Mobile. It also doesn't work with pre-installed apps installed on Chinese smartphones.