Zoom Is Fighting Rumors In India That It’s A Chinese Company

After the Indian government banned 59 apps owned by Chinese firms last week, the videoconferencing app Zoom is fighting xenophobic rumors on social media that it is Chinese-owned. It’s not — the company is American and is scrambling to let Indians know.

In a blog post on Tuesday, Velchamy Sankarlingam, Zoom’s president of product and engineering, tried to clear up misinformation about Zoom’s country of origin. The company, he reminded people, is based in the United States.

“We do recognize that as we continue to introduce ourselves to the Indian market, there has been some confusion about the facts as it relates to Zoom. Some of the misconceptions are disheartening, especially those about Zoom and China. Zoom has been clear about its identity: Zoom is a U.S. company, publicly traded on the NASDAQ, founded and headquartered in San Jose, California. And like many global technology companies, Zoom has offices in China operated by subsidiaries of the U.S. parent company.”

Sankarlingam’s post came days after India’s ban on apps from Chinese companies including TikTok, following border clashes between the countries. In the days preceding the ban, Twitter, Facebook, and WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned instant messaging app that most Indians use, were filled with messages urging nationalistic Indians to uninstall apps owned by Chinese firms.

Some of these messages, however, incorrectly identified Zoom as a Chinese-owned app.

One of the forwards that went viral on WhatsApp was a list of 40 apps, which included Zoom. “China is earning crores of money per day by Above apps,” the message said, referring to an Indian unit of monetary measurement. “You should uninstall these Apps as soon as possible from your mobile & ask 10 friends and further their friends to do the same. Accept the Challenge! #Boycott China.”

Shortly after the ban, a glut of local competitors sprung up with their own versions of the restricted apps. Last week, India’s Jio Platforms, the country’s largest telecom company, rushed out its own videoconferencing app called JioMeet, which was criticized for being a Zoom rip-off.

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