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India To Ban 54 More Apps Linked To Tencent, Other Chinese Tech Cos

India To Ban 54 More Apps Linked To Tencent, Other Chinese Tech Cos

The latest batch of banned apps are said to include those operated by Chinese tech giants as well as “rebranded or rechristened avatars” of apps

The likes of TikTok, CamScanner, PUBG and others were ejected from app stores in India in 2020 

Popular games such as Battlegrounds Mobile India and Free Fire Max continue to be available in India despite reports of a ban 

The Indian government has banned 54 more apps and games of Chinese origin, with publishers and tech giants such as Tencent, Alibaba, NetEase and others seemingly impacted by this latest crackdown.

The latest batch of banned apps are said to include those operated by Chinese tech giants as well as “rebranded or rechristened avatars” of apps that have been banned in India since 2020, when the likes of PUBG, TikTok, CamScanner and others were ejected from app stores in India.

As per a NDTV Gadgets 360 report, Google has confirmed that the government has sent an order to ban access to the above apps. “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 was quoted as saying.

A government statement on the ban said, “These 54 apps allegedly obtain various critical permissions and collects sensitive user data. These collected real-time data are being misused and transmitted to servers located in hostile country.”

The apps are also said to have other capabilities that raised serious concerns such as espionage and surveillance activities “These apps were allegedly engaged in activities prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of the country also posing serious threat to Security of the State and defense of India.”

Full List Of 54 Banned Chinese Apps

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

 

Why Were The Apps Banned?

An ET report claims that the ministry of electronics and IT issued the ban order as these 54 apps were transferring sensitive data of Indian users to servers in China and other foreign countries.

It also says that the government has taken cognizance of banned apps being available as installation files or APKs for Android devices. How exactly it is doing this is unclear. Modified versions of PUBG and TikTok have been available ever since they were banned from India in 2020.

“Many of the apps from the stable of Tencent and Alibaba, have changed hands to hide ownership. They are also being hosted out of countries like Hong Kong or Singapore, but the data was ultimately going to servers in Chinese destinations,” an official is quoted as saying.

A cursory search on the Google Play Store this morning (February 14, 2022) shows that popular games such as Battlegrounds Mobile India and Free Fire Max continue to be available in India. However, one variant of the Free Fire series – Free Fire Illuminate – has been banned as per the order.

New Wave Of Chinese App Bans

In June 2020, the Indian government banned 59 Chinese mobile apps in India, including TikTok, UC Browser, ShareIT, ES FileExplorer, Clash Of Kings, Helo, Likee, CamScanner, Shein among others on the grounds of threat to sovereignty and security of the country. Then in July it banned another 47 apps that were operating as the clones of the 59 Chinese apps banned the previous month.

In August 2020, the government had barred the ‘pro’ or ‘lite’ versions of TikTok and fellow ByteDance app Helo that were banned in June. Then in September, the government announced a ban on gaming sensation PUBG and 117 other mobile applications, including Baidu, Ride Out Heroes NetEase Games, Soul Hunters, Rules of Survival amongst others.

The ban came on the back of rising geopolitical tensions between India and China , after border clashes between the two armies in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley in June 2020. While it is not clear which apps have been banned in the 2022 crackdown, there is a major geopolitical threat this time around too with the situation in Ukraine and Russia’s advances.

India is the largest market for mobile apps and games outside of China. India had the second-highest number of mobile app downloads in the world in 2022, with over 27 Bn downloads coming from the country, whereas the United States only clocked 12.2 Bn app downloads, according to App Annie.

Update note: February 14, 2022 | 14:1o
Added official statement from the government as reported by NDTV Gadgets 360