Over 50 Chinese apps banned in fresh crackdown by the Indian government

Play Store
(Image credit: senengmotret / Shutterstock.com)

In a fresh crackdown on Chinese apps, the Indian government has banned 54 mobile applications with a Chinese connection. According to the government officials these apps were considered to be a threat to the security and privacy of the citizens

Among the apps that were banned include AliSuppliers and Alibaba Workbench, CamCard -- Business Card Reader, Chinese Social, WeDate, TrulyChinese and more.

The latest ban extends the list of applications blocked in the country to 270 since 2020. The Ministry of Electronics and IT hasn’t released an extensive list of applications that have been blocked this time around.

To recall, various such applications were banned by the government in the last two years, in the wake of Indo-Sino border tensions. Though numerous apps have resurfaced with a different name or a new design – the latest crackdown is said to be an effort to limit them.

In the past as well, various apps made a comeback via the clone route or were renamed or called “Lite” variants. The IT ministry had to subsequently issue a fresh order to ban these apps as well.

The Economic Times cites an unnamed senior government official who said that “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.”

The government is also aware of these apps being accessed via VPN as the official says “even apps such as ByteDance-owned TikTok and Tencent’s WeChat were available for download through alternative means such as APK files, and the government has taken cognizance of it.”

Though sideloading of applications is a rather easy process for Android phones and once installed these can be accessed easily with the help of a VPN – it is not clear how the government aims to block access to these applications.

BGMI vs Free Fire – is the lawsuit responsible for the disappearance?

Garena Free Fire Max

(Image credit: Google Play Store)

One of the most notable apps that have gone missing from the app stores in India is Garena Free Fire which is a popular battle royale mobile game and an alternate to PUBG – which was banned back in 2020. As of now, there is no clarity behind its disappearance as a variant of the game Garena Free Fire Max is still available to download on the Google Play Store but it is not available on the Apple’s App Store. 

Recently, BGMI and PUBG’s creator Krafton had filed a lawsuit against Garena the creator of Free Fire accusing the latter of copying key features, looks, and feels apart from the gameplay. The lawsuit also mentions Apple and Google – the owner of the biggest app repositories on the iOS and Android ecosystem respectively for distributing the copycat game to their users.

In its lawsuit, Krafton has claimed that Garena has blatantly copied various key elements of PUBG, which includes the copyrighted unique game-opening “airdrop” feature.

Not only this, but Krafton also says that both the games - Free Fire and Free Fire Max - have extensively copied various aspects of Battlegrounds including the entire game structure and gameplay, the combination and selection of weapons, armour, and unique objects, locations, and the overall choice of colour schemes, materials, and textures.

Since we do not have an extensive list from the IT ministry, we will have to wait for an official update from Garena around the games’ sudden disappearance from the app stores.

Want to know about the latest happenings in tech? Follow TechRadar India on TwitterFacebook and Instagram

Jitendra Soni

Jitendra has been working in the Internet Industry for the last 7 years now and has written about a wide range of topics including gadgets, smartphones, reviews, games, software, apps, deep tech, AI, and consumer electronics.