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It’s become increasingly difficult to tell where apps are from

A Chinese flag and American flag wave in the wind.
Reuters/Aly Song
Chinese or American?

Many people who are not part of the majority ethnic group in the country they live in are accustomed to being asked: “But where are you really from?” Now companies are being asked the same question.

TikTok, owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, has fought hard this year to prove it isn’t a Chinese app in response to rising US suspicion about its ties with its parent and ultimately, the Chinese Communist Party, which has sweeping powers over its tech companies.

Elsewhere, India’s biggest digital payments platform, Paytm, is often scrutinized for being “Chinese” because Alibaba and its affiliates own a more than 25% stake in Paytm’s parent company One97 Communications.

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