Google has removed a popular application going by “Remove China Apps” from the Google Play Store after the Android app became one of the most downloaded in India in recent weeks.

The app might not mean a great deal to many outside of India, but developer OneTouch AppLabs promised that it would help you detect any apps developed in China, which would allow you to remove them from your device far quicker. According to Sensor Tower data, the app was downloaded an impressive 4.7 million times between May 27 and June 1 (via FT).

Unlike the recent removal of reviews from the TikTok Play Store listing, the app has been flat-out swiped from the online application portal. TechCrunch has since found that Remove China Apps has been taken down for violating the Google Play Store’s Deceptive Behaviour Policy.

This policy states that an app on the Google Play Store cannot make changes to a user device settings, or features outside of this app without the user knowledge or consent. The most damning is that the Deceptive Behaviour Policy also states that an app should not encourage users to remove or disable third-party apps — which is clearly the sole purpose of Remove China Apps.

The app has grown in popularity as anti-China sentiment has grown in India in recent months. The latest dispute over the Himalayan border is said to have stoked these tensions even further. Considering that the vast majority of smartphone hardware sold and used globally has roots in China — from development to manufacturing — this seems like an odd target of ire by Indian users.

According to OneTouch’s website, the developers used “market research” to determine just where an app originated and did not guarantee accuracy. Despite all of this, Remove China Apps has since been completely removed from the Google Play Store. If you are concerned, you’ll just have to manually remove apps without the help of a dodgy third-party app.

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Damien Wilde

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