After the ban on popular game PUBG on Wednesday (September 2), citing data privacy concerns and a threat to national security, Google Play store and Apple App store have taken down PUBG Mobile and PUBG Mobile Lite app, which were available for download until Thursday night.
The government’s latest ban takes the total count of Chinese-linked mobile apps banned by India to 224. The apps banned on Wednesday include Baidu, Baidu Express Edition, Alipay, Tencent Watchlist, FaceU, WeChat reading, Government WeChat, Tencent Weiyun, APUS Launcher Pro, APUS Security, Cut Cut, ShareSave by Xiaomi, and CamCard, besides PUBG Mobile and PUBG Mobile Lite, an official statement said.
Shenzhen-based tech conglomerate Tencent’s shares fell more than 2% or lost $14 Bn in intra-day trade. This is the second biggest fall in market value for the company in recent times. PUBG’s mobile version was developed by Tencent which holds around 10% stake in the parent company.
The ban follows rising tension between China and India. Rising geopolitical tensions between the two countries, since border clashes between the two armies in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley last in June, are now manifesting in trade and economic ties, with members of the Indian political brass calling for a boycott of Chinese products and services.
In August, the government had barred the ‘pro’ or ‘lite’ versions of TikTok and fellow ByteDance app Helo that were banned in June. Moreover, the ban on Mi Browser Pro is the second app by Xiaomi that has been banned after the Mi Community app was axed in the first round of bans.
In the recent past, Chinese apps have been flagged for alleged violations of data privacy norms. Following the ban on 59 Chinese apps, including popular ones such as ByteDance-owned TikTok and Alibaba-owned UC Browser, some of the banned applications hinted at moving their data servers to India, to assuage the government’s concerns over data security violations.