India bans Free Fire and 53 other China-linked apps

India, which has banned many Chinese apps since 2020 on the grounds that they pose a threat to its national security, has banned 54 more China-linked apps, including Sea Ltd’s popular game Garena’s Free Fire: Illuminate.

Garena International said on Monday that Free Fire is currently unavailable in Google Play and Apple’s App Store in India. 

“ We are aware that Free Fire is currently unavailable in the Google Play and iOS app stores in India and that the game is currently not operable for some users in the country. We are working to address this situation, and we apologize to our users for any inconvenience.” Sea said in a statement

Free Fire, which was the most downloaded mobile game worldwide in the last quarter of 2021, became the top-grossing mobile game in India in the third quarter of 2021.

Per the 2021 Asia Games Market Report released by market research company Niko Partners, India’s PC and mobile game revenue is projected to reach $1.5 billion by 2025, at a 5-year CAGR of 29.8%.

Some of the other apps that India has banned include AppLock, Beauty Camera, Rise of Kingdoms: Lost Crusade, and Dual Space Lite. 

“On receipt of the interim order passed under Section 69A of the IT Act, following established process, we have notified the affected developers and have temporarily blocked access to the apps that remained available on the Play Store in India,” a Google spokesperson said Monday.

It dates back to June 2020 when India started banning China-linked apps. On this date, the Indian government announced that it banned 59 Chinese apps, including TikTok

The country, which banned 47 more Chinese apps, including TikTok Lite, in July 2020, banned 118 more apps, including the popular multiplayer battle royale game PUBG Mobile, in September of the same year. In July 2021, PUBG Mobile developer Krafton released an extra version of PUBG in the country without any Chinese server connection. 

Written by Sophie Blake

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