India has banned 54 more Chinese apps, citing India’s national security as a reason. These include some popular games and tools from some of the biggest Chinese service providers.
The banned games include ‘Garena Free Fire,’ backed by Tencent. Other banned apps include ‘Sweet Selfie HD,’ ‘Beauty Camera,’ ‘Viva Video Editor,’ ‘AppLock,’ and ‘Dual Space Lite.’ Most of the banned apps are rebranded launches India blocked in 2020 and 2021.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has cited section 69A of the IT Act, 2000, to ban the apps. The section allows the government to ban apps if they compromise India’s “sovereignty and integrity.”
Chinese Apps Banned
‘Garena Free Fire’ seems to be the worst hit from the ban. The game has over 40 million active monthly users in India. This makes for a significant chunk of the 75 million global players that the game enjoys.
According to a recent App Annie report, Indians spent 655 billion hours on their phones in 2021. This also includes over 9 billion gaming downloads, making India one of the biggest markets for apps and games.
India banned 118 Chinese apps and games from the Play Store in 2020. The ban also included PubG, one of the most popular multiplayer shooter games at the time. Since then, this has been the third round of bans hitting Chinese apps.
Most of the apps and games that India has banned are rebranded versions of the apps banned last year. This means the bans from 2020 and 2021 were undone by renaming and relaunching their apps.
Most of these apps, like Sweet Selfie HD, Beauty Camera, etc., require a camera and mic access to work. That said, not knowing how the data is used or handled can be a privacy hazard to allow the apps without vetting them.