The ban on applications imposed on Monday will surely hurt the parent companies, mostly Chinese and a few from Singapore, constraining them to cut back their operations in India. These include Tencent's WeChat and Alibaba's UC Browser.
Worst hit will be TikTok owner ByteDance, which had a $1 billion India-specific expansion plan. According to wire agency Reuters, India is TikTok's top growth market and accounts for 30% of its 2 billion downloads worldwide.
The company said in a statement the government had asked it to respond to the ban and submit clarifications, adding that it complies with all data security and privacy requirements. It did not comment on the fate of its expansion plan.
Many TikTok users were livid. The wire agency cited one user @omkarsharma988 who posted a video in which he throws utensils to the ground, hits a chair and weeps, with a Hindi song playing "You've left me, how will I live now?" The video had been liked 2,18,000 times.
Google Play Store and Apple's App Store pulled the app listing within hours of the government's decision. Now, it shows error messages such as "Network error" and "No internet connection" on almost all cellular and broadband networks. Until afternoon, the app was still functioning on phones on which it had been already downloaded.
The ban has also left Tencent disappointed, which has apps and is also a major investor in Indian start-ups, sources told Reuters. The potential loss of employment is yet to be gauged. Tencent declined to comment. Two games of China-based firms, "Mobile Legends" and "Clash of Kings", were among those banned on Monday.
The 59 banned apps recorded roughly 4.9 billion downloads in India since January 2014.