In yet another big digital strike against China, the Indian government has on Monday - February 14 banned 54 applications that have their roots in the neighbouring country. The ban has become the latest episode of the clampdown against China, which has been witnessing an impasse for its applications in one of the major global markets. In 2020, the Indian government has banned several Chinese applications including TikTok, Weibo, WeChat, and PUBG under the grounds of posing threat to national security.
In line with that, the government has on Monday banned 54 applications including the prominent mobile game Free Fire, Tencent Xriver, Viva Video Editor, AppLock, Beauty Camera - Sweet Selfie HD, Beauty Camera - Selfie Camera, Equalizer - Bass Booster, Rise of Kingdoms: Lost Crusade, Live Weather Radar, MP3 cutter, Twilight Pioneers, CuteU Pro, FancyU - Video Chat & Meetup, Wink - Connect Now, and FunChat Meet people around you.
The announcement of the ban was made by the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and the list also includes re-branded versions of apps that were already banned by India in 2020. According to reports, the Union Home Ministry has recommended a ban on 54 Chinese applications and the action of curbing a slew of applications was taken in the interest of national security.
It must be noted that the Free Fire application is also on the list of banned applications. However, Free Fire is not from China, instead, this popular game application is from Singapore. It is built by Sea Limited in Singapore and Free Fire was one of the most downloaded game applications in India in 2021. Sea Limited - founded in Singapore by Chinese-born founders. The founders had later become Singapore citizens.
The company had been focusing on building gaming and e-commerce business globally with backing from Tencent, the largest shareholder of the company. The reports say that Free Fire, which is the battle royale shooter, is often compared with PUBG, and it is among the world's most popular mobile games with more than a billion downplays on Google Play.
In November 2020, the Union government has issued an order under section 69A of the IT Act blocking access to 43 Chinese apps. It has said that the action was taken based on the inputs regarding these apps that they have been engaging in activities that are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, Defence of India, security of the state and public order. Earlier on June 29, 2020, India has banned 59 mobile apps and later in September in the same year, another 118 apps were banned and all of them had a connection with China.
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.— ANI (@ANI) February 14, 2022