China app ban: China app ban: Gaming, beauty and dating apps dominate latest list

New Delhi/Chennai: Chinese apps banned by the Union government in its fifth and final crackdown include a slew of games, including Garena Free Fire; Isoland 2: Ashes of Time Lite; Rise of Kingdoms: Lost Crusade; Conquer Online and Twilight Pioneers.

In September 2020, the government banned the very popular Tencent-owned PUBG Mobile. This fueled the growth of Garena Free Fire in India, which was also banned.

A number of Chinese apps banned in the last round belong to big tech companies such as Tencent, Alibaba and gaming company NetEase and are “renamed or rebranded avatars” of apps banned in the country since 2020.

ET reported on Monday that the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology had ordered the banning of 54 other Chinese-originated apps in India, calling them a “threat to national security”.

This is the fifth round of major Chinese app bans by the Indian government following border tensions with China in 2020. In June of that year, the government blocked 59 apps, including apps extremely popular such as TikTok, Shareit, UC Browser and WeChat. Since June 2020, the government has banned about 224 Chinese apps in total.

The latest round of bans also included messaging and dating apps such as CuteU: Match With The World, CuteU Pro, and FunChat Meet People Around You. Also on the list were video-based social media platforms such as SmallWorld, FancyU, MoonChat, and RealU.

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The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (Meity) issued the latest ban on the grounds that these apps transferred sensitive data of Indians to servers in foreign countries like China. It also ordered major app stores, including Google’s Play Store, to block such apps. Google said it has already blocked access to apps in India.

Other apps that are expected to be banned in India include photo enhancement and editing apps such as Sweet Selfie HD and Beauty Camera, besides Equalizer & Bass Booster audio editing app, scanner app CamCard business card maker, Viva Video Editor video editing app, AppLock app lock service, and Dual Space Lite interface clone app.

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