Govt plans ban on PubG, 273 other apps after action against 59 Chinese apps

Govt plans ban on PubG, 273 other apps after action against 59 Chinese apps

After ban on TikTok and 59 other Chinese apps last month, The Indian Government is planning to ban more apps. The government has created a new list of apps to check if they pose any risk to national security or individual's privacy.

The Centre has kept 275 Chinese apps on the radar, including PubG, Zili, Resso, AliExpress and ULike, according to a report in The Economic Times. Apps from other Chinese internet and tech majors like Meitu, LBE Tech, Perfect Corp, Sina Corp, Netease Games, Yoozoo Global are also in the list.

Although PubG videogame has been developed by a subsidiary of South Korean video game company Bluehole, it is also backed by China's most valuable internet major Tencent. On the other hand, Zili is owned by Xiaomi, Resso and ULike by TikTok-owner ByteDance, and AliExpress by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.

India is the largest market of PubG. According to estimates from app intelligence firm Sensor Tower, PubG has generated about 17.5 crore installs to date contributing 24% of the total downloads of the app across the world.

Citing a government official, the daily added the aforementioned apps have been red-flagged due to security reasons while others have been listed for violation of data sharing and privacy concerns. Additionally, the government is examining the alleged flow of data from these apps to China that poses a threat to the sovereignty and integrity of India.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has sent 77 questions to the 59 banned-Chinese apps. The Centre has asked questions like whether they censored content, worked on behalf of foreign governments or lobbied influencers, among others. The ministry has also given these companies three weeks to respond, i.e, first week of August.

Zili and Snack Video had moved into the top 10 list on Google Play, as the two Chinese apps emerge as contenders to replace the banned short video app TikTok. Wildly popular across India’s hinterland, TikTok had snagged 200 million registered users in the country and had been downloaded 660 million times since its launch two years ago, accounting for 30% of its overall global downloads.

On June 29, the Centre banned 59 apps with Chinese links, including TikTok, Shein, UC Browser, and BeautyPlus, saying they were prejudicial to the sovereignty, integrity, and security of the country. Last week, MeitY wrote a letter to Chinese firms, warning the continued availability and operation of these banned apps, directly or indirectly, was an offence under the IT Act and other applicable Acts.