India bans Garena Free Fire and 53 other Chinese apps

India bans Garena Free Fire and 53 other Chinese apps

In July 2020, the Indian Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) issued a press release announcing the ban of 59 Chinese apps, including TikTok, WeChat, Weibo, and more, in the country. A few weeks after the initial announcement, the ministry banned 47 more Chinese origin apps, including Tencent-backed PUBG Mobile, AliExpress, Ludo World, and more. MeitY continued its onslaught till the end of the year and announced two more waves of bans, once in September and then again in November, removing over 150 more Chinese apps from app stores in the country. After a long hiatus, MeitY has now announced the ban of 54 more Chinese apps, including Garena’s popular Battle Royale title Free Fire.

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MeitY’s latest announcement cites Section 69A of the IT ACT of 2000 as the reason behind the latest ban. For the unaware, the government body has cited the same section for all previous announcements. It reads as follows:

69A Power to issue directions for blocking for public access of any information through any computer resource. –

  1. Where the Central Government or any of its officers specially authorised by it in this behalf is satisfied that it is necessary or expedient so to do, in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States or public order or for preventing incitement to the commission of any cognizable offence relating to above, it may subject to the provisions of sub-section (2), for reasons to be recorded in writing, by order, direct any agency of the Government or intermediary to block for access by the public or cause to be blocked for access by the public any information generated, transmitted, received, stored or hosted in any computer resource.
  2. The procedure and safeguards subject to which such blocking for access by the public may be carried out, shall be such as may be prescribed.
  3. The intermediary who fails to comply with the direction issued under sub-section (1) shall be punished with an imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years and also be liable to fine.

While MeitY is yet to release the full list of banned apps on its website, a tweet from ET Now states that the government body is targeting the following apps with its latest announcement:

Chinese apps banned in India (Feb 2022)

  1. Beauty Camera: Sweet Selfie HD
  2. Beauty Camera – Selfie Camera
  3. Equalizer — Bass Booster & Volume EQ & Virtualizer
  4. Music Player – Music, Mp3 Player
  5. Equalizer & Bass Booster – Music Volume EQ
  6. Music Plus – MP3 Player
  7. Equalizer Pro – Volume Booster & Bass Booster
  8. Video Player Media All Format
  9. Music Player – Equalizer & MP3
  10. Volume Booster – Loud Speaker & Sound Booster
  11. Music Player – MP3 Player
  12. CamCard for SalesForce Ent
  13. Isoland 2: Ashes of Time Lite
  14. Rise of Kingdoms: Lost Crusade
  15. APUS Security HD (Pad Version)
  16. Parallel Space Lite 32 Support
  17. Viva Video Editor – Snack Video Maker with Music
  18. Nice video baidu
  19. Tencent Xriver
  20. Onmyoji Chess
  21. Onmyoji Arena
  22. AppLock
  23. Dual Space Lite – Multiple Accounts & Clone App
  24. Dual Space Pro – Multiple Accounts & App Cloner
  25. DualSpace Lite – 32Bit Support
  26. Dual Space – 32Bit Support
  27. Dual Space -64Bit Support
  28. Dual Space Pro – 32Bit Support
  29. Conquer Online – MMORPG Game
  30. Conquer Online II
  31. Live Weather & Radar – Alerts
  32. Notes- Color Notepad, Notebook
  33. MP3 Cutter – Ringtone Maker & Audio Cutter
  34. Voice Recorder & Voice Changer
  35. Barcode Scanner – QR Code Scan
  36. Lica Cam – selfie camera app
  37. EVE Echoes
  38. Astracraft
  39. UU Game Booster-network solution for high ping
  40. Extraordinary Ones
  41. Badlanders
  42. Stick Fight: The Game Mobile
  43. Twilight Pioneers
  44. CuteU: Match With The World
  45. SmallWorld-Enjoy groupchat and video chat
  46. CuteU Pro
  47. FancyU – Video Chat & Meetup
  48. RealU: Go Live, Make Friends
  49. MoonChat: Enjoy Video Chats
  50. RealU Lite -video to live!
  51. Wink: Connect Now
  52. FunChat Meet People Around You
  53. FancyU pro – Instant Meetup through Video chat!
  54. Garena Free Fire – Illuminate

According to TechCrunch, some of the recently banned apps, including Sweet Selfie HD, Beauty Camera, Viva Video Editor, AppLock, and Dual Space Lite, are clones of apps that were banned previously. The publication further reveals that Google has acknowledged the latest order and is complying by removing these apps from the Play Store.

In a statement on the matter, a Google spokesperson was quoted saying, “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.”

For a complete list of all the Chinese apps banned in India, check out our previous coverage.

About author

Pranob Mehrotra
Pranob Mehrotra

A Literature and Linguistics graduate with a keen interest in everything Android. When not writing about tech, Pranob spends most of his time either playing League of Legends or lurking on Reddit.

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