After the Indian government banned 59 Chinese-owned apps last week, the Zoom video conferencing app is striving to persuade Indians on social media that the app is American, not Chinese.
Filshami Sankarlingam, head of products and engineering at Zoom, tried to clarify misinformation about the country of origin of the company, which was reported to be based in the United States.
He also said, “We realize that while we continue to introduce ourselves to the Indian market, there has been some confusion about the company's association with the home country. American Zoom, publicly traded in the American financial market NASDAQ, was established (there) and is headquartered in San Jose, California. Like many other Global technology companies, Zoom has offices in China operated by subsidiaries of the parent company.
The post came days after India banned the applications of Chinese companies, including TikTok, in the wake of border clashes between the two countries.
In the days leading up to the ban, Twitter, Facebook, and WhatsApp were rife with user messages urging Indians to uninstall apps owned by Chinese companies, and these messages have incorrectly reported that the app is owned by China.
"China earns tens of millions of money a day through the above-mentioned applications," said one of the messages that spread to WhatsApp, which is used by most Indians, and included a list of 40 applications, including Zoom. Ten friends do the same. "
Soon after the ban, an abundance of competing Indian applications arose. Last week, Geo, the country's largest telecom operator, launched a special video conferencing app called JioMeet.
JioMeet and Zoom - a thread.
Screen 1 - Landing Page. pic.twitter.com/TC1HEJLUX1
- SG (@shrinivassg) July 3, 2020
Analysts say Zoom was targeted by the rapid spread of misinformation on social media, and also because the company's CEO, Eric Yuan, is of Chinese descent.
"I became a US citizen in July 2007," Yuan wrote, speaking on his identity and company. "I have lived happily in America since 1997. Zoom a California-based American company, founded in Delaware, and is publicly traded on the NASDAQ."
"The spread of social media and prevailing anti-China sentiments in the country among consumers in India has formed a general perception that Zoom is Chinese," said Pracher Singh, senior research analyst at Counter Point, a market researcher.
Sankarlingam, an Indian American, returned to saying that the company had shown "its commitment to India" and talked about its Mumbai office as well as two Indian data centers. She also talked about her plans to invest in the country for the next five years and employment.
"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. Zoom is a US company, publicly traded on the NASDAQ, founded and headquartered in San Jose, California . "
- Zoom (@zoom_us) July 7, 2020
He also wrote that "three of the chief executives of Zoom are of Indian origin."
This is not the first time that this app has faced an identity crisis, after security researchers discovered that Zoom made some calls to the platform through servers in China last April.