Garena Free Fire banned in India along with 53 other Chinese linked apps

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The Ministry of Home Affairs, on Monday, has recommended a ban of 54 Chinese mobile Apps, that include the hugely popular battle royale game, Garena Free Fire. Interestingly the popular battle royale game is Singapore-based and the developer is not from China. The game was one of the most downloaded games in India last year, and had taken up the vacuum created by PUBG Mobile after it was banned in September 2020.

At the time of writing this, the Garena Free Fire was already removed from the Google Play Store and App Store in India. The game became hugely unpopular among parents and lawmakers in India after a spate of suicides are linked to the game. PUBG developer relaunched an Indian version of the game under the name BattleGrounds Mobile India in 2021 against which a public interest litigation is pending seeking to prohibit the game.

On Monday, as news of Free Fire’s ban circulated, shares of the parent company of Garena developer Sea (SE:NYSE), tanked 18% to $128.76, from Friday closing price of $139. According to PTI, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) will formally issue a notification banning the operations of these apps in India.

In 2020, in a similar move, the government had also banned TikTok and other popular short video apps from China. When TikTok was banned on June 29, 2020, the list included around 59 apps in total. Other popular apps on that list were Shareit, Shein (the fashion website and app), Xiaomi Mi Community, Clash of Kings, Weibo, Likee, etc.

MeitY had banned the earlier apps under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, which states that the government has the “Power to issue directions for interception or monitoring or decryption of any information through any computer resource.” The government can invoke these provisions when it is “satisfied that it is necessary or expedient to do in the interest of the sovereignty or 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 or for investigation of any offence.”

The other apps in the present list include Tencent’s Xriver, NetEase’s Onmyoji Arena and Astracraft and with alleged links to China, the latest in a series of similar blockings over the past one and half years on national security grounds after the border clashes in mid-2020. Few of the newly prohibited apps include Sweet Selfie HD, Beauty Camera, Viva Video Editor, AppLock and Dual Space Lite, are clones or rebrands of many of the over 300 apps affiliated with Chinese technology companies that India has banned since mid-2020 amid escalating geopolitical tension among the two Asian powerhouses over protracted border dispute in Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh.

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” Garena said in its statement on Monday.

The complete list of 54 apps is as follows:

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
IS/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 Il
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 Small World-Enjoy groupchat and video chat
46 CuteU Pro
47 FancvU – Video Chat & Meetup
48 Real: Go Live. Make Friends
49 MoonChat: Enjoy Video Chats
50 Real 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