The Indian government had earlier banned a number of apps developed by Chinese firms, which included the world-famous game PUBG and the video platform Tiktok. Now, a new list of banned apps has been revealed, and it includes apps that also have a prominent Chinese linkage. So, apps such as Garena Free Fire, backed by Tencent, will be banned in the country.
Other apps that will be coming under the newly announced ban are sweet selfies, viva video editor, dual space, beauty camera, etc. It is important to note that many of these apps are just rebrands of apps that the government had blocked earlier. Since 2020, over 300 apps that are from Chinese developers or have prominent Chinese backing have been banned in the country.
The biggest head-turner from this new set of apps that have been removed from both google and apple app stores is Garena studio’s free fire. The game had garnered immense popularity in India and had over 45 million daily players which account for more than 50% of the users of this app. While the Indian government has cited data security as the primary reason for blocking these apps, many sources cite the continuous border skirmishes with China as the actual reason.
The Narendra Modi-led Indian government is yet to issue a formal statement regarding the newly banned apps. Developers of these apps have been constantly reaching out to the government IT offices but the ban seems to remain in effect until further notice. India is currently the biggest market in the world for smartphone apps and this ban can have serious repercussions on the developers. Amongst the 200+ banned apps, only PUBG has found a means of getting back into the government’s good graces, albeit after heavy rebranding.