Guwahati: India has banned 54 apps it says are of Chinese origin, including Sea Ltd.’s marquee game Free Fire, citing security concerns, news agencies reported.
The apps banned by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology include those belonging to large China tech firms such as Tencent, Alibaba and NetEase, and are re-branded versions of apps already banned by India in 2020, the people said asking not to be identified citing rules on speaking to the media.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) will formally issue a notification banning the operations of these apps in India.
List of 54 apps banned by India
The 54 Chinese apps include Beauty Camera: Sweet Selfie HD, Beauty Camera – Selfie Camera, Equalizer & Bass Booster, CamCard for SalesForce Ent, Isoland 2: Ashes of Time Lite, Viva Video Editor, Tencent Xriver, Onmyoji Chess, Onmyoji Arena, AppLock, Dual Space Lite.
Sea — founded in Singapore by Chinese-born founders who became Singaporean citizens — has been focusing on building a gaming and e-commerce business globally with backing from Tencent, the largest shareholder of the company.
Free Fire, the battle royale shooter often compared with PUBG, is among the world’s most popular mobile games with more than a billion downloads on Google Play.
Last year, India banned hundreds of Chinese apps including PUBG Mobile, TikTok, Weibo, WeChat, AliExpress.
In November 2020, the Centre issued an order under section 69A of the IT Act blocking access to 43 mobile apps. It said this action was taken based on the inputs regarding these apps for engaging in activities that are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of the state and public order.
Earlier on 29th June 2020, India had blocked access to 59 mobile apps and on 2nd September 118 more apps were banned under section 69A of the IT Act.