India banned over 100 Chinese apps in July. Now the country is considering banning nearly 275 more, including the popular battle royale title PUBG Mobile. Partly owned by the Chinese company Tencent, PUBG Mobile is one of India’s most popular mobile games; one-quarter of the game’s players are based in the country. India has already banned two other Tencent titles, LightSpeed and Quantum Studio.
The bans are the latest diplomatic developments in an ongoing border dispute. India argues that the apps it banned constitute threats to user privacy and national security. The claim is similar to the one that President Trump recently made to justify a possible US ban on the Chinese social media app TikTok. Trump has since backed down from his initial threat, saying he would allow Microsoft to try to acquire the app.
India initially banned 59 Chinese apps – including TikTok – that it labelled as threats to national security. Recently, the country added 47 more apps to the banned list, many of which were copies of Chinese apps it had already banned. India’s current targets include titles from well-known companies such as Alibaba, ByteDance, Netease Games, and Yoozoo Games.
Some regions of India already have banned PUBG Mobile, claiming that it is addictive, glorifies violence, and linked to violence and crime among teenagers. However, the bans have mostly been rescinded.
The original game was developed and published worldwide by a Korean company, leading some industry insiders to suggest that PUBG Mobile is not “Chinese enough” to warrant a ban. The app, however, was developed in direct collaboration with and distributed by Tencent.
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