According to a report by ET Now, the Indian Government has banned 54 apps from its app store, including the marquee game Free Fire. The bans also affect a handful of other Chinese-based games.
While the ministry has not released an official statement, it’s likely that the new restrictions stem from the same reasons and under the same law as those that banned the previous 52.
After a lengthy ban, PUBG Mobile has been brought back to India. In the interim, Sea Ltd., which has a small revenue exposure in India, has launched a new game, ‘Free Fire,’ to circumvent the ban.
Earlier, India accounted for just 2.6% of Sea Ltd.’s 2021 mobile-game net sales. In July, SEA had announced plans to discontinue the development of Free Fire.
Meanwhile, the Chinese company MeitY, which is responsible for the MeitY app store, has banned 59 of its own apps. Following the initial announcement, MeitY banned another 47 Chinese applications.
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Indian Government bans 54 Chinese Apps- Banned Apps
These included the Tencent-backed PUBG Mobile, AliExpress, and Ludo World. On November 16, MeitY announced two more waves of bans. With these bans, over 150 Chinese apps have been removed from the app store.
Despite the controversy over the Chinese-made apps, the Chinese government still continues to be popular and is largely unaffected by the ban. After the initial announcement, MeitY banned 59 more Chinese apps in November.
Besides Free Fire, the other banned apps were AliExpress, PUBG Mobile, and Ludo World. However, the Indian government hasn’t yet issued a formal decision on these apps. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology will determine if these apps can operate in the country.
The bans include mobile games like Free Fire. The Chinese app has a billion downloads on Google Play and is widely compared to the popular PUBG Mobile.
Indian Government bans 54 Chinese Apps- Previously Banned Apps
Last year, China banned hundreds of other Chinese apps in India, including TikTok and Weibo. Currently, the Indian government is mulling over the new regulations, but it is unclear why so many of them have been blocked in India.
The bans on Chinese apps are a result of the Chinese Government’s recent crackdown on Chinese-made applications. While the Indian market has seen a significant decline in the past few years, the Chinese market remains a major driver of global mobile games.
While the bans on Chinese-made apps in India are a concern for the companies in the country, MeitY’s findings could lead to the app being banned in the future.
The ban on the Chinese-made game Free Fire is also a concern for Krafton, which has a small presence in the Indian market. The company’s revenues from India are only 2.6% of the company’s global mobile game net sales in 2021.
Indian Government bans 54 Chinese Apps- Reason Behind It
The app is one of the most popular games on the Android platform, and the Indian government is clearly concerned about the potential damage it may cause. With the ban on the Chinese-made games, the Chinese companies are not only worried about the future of their business, but also about the risk of losing customers.
The bans were not intended to hurt the Chinese market, but they did have a negative impact on the Indian market. The Chinese companies have been banned in other countries for violating their terms of service, and the ban on Free Fire is no different.
The app was banned in China last July after MeitY discovered that it sent sensitive data to India. The company is not aware of the bans and has yet provided details about the reasons for them.
While some of the banned apps have been removed from the Google Play store, others remain on the app store for now. While the Indian government has informed the developers that they have to remove the banned apps, the other apps will be permanently banned by the MeitY.
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