India blocks Crafto’s game under the same law it used to ban the sourcing of Chinese apps

India blocks Crafto's game under the same law it used to ban the sourcing of Chinese apps
Written by admin

The Google sign is pictured in front of the Google office in Berlin, Germany, on August 31, 2021. REUTERS/Annegret Hilse/File Photo

Sign up now for FREE unlimited access to

NEW DELHI, July 29 (Reuters) – India has blocked a popular battle royale game from Crafton Inc. (259960.KS)A South Korean company backed by China’s Tencent (0700.HK)Using a law it has implemented since 2020, China bans apps on national security grounds, the source said.

Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI) has been delisted from Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) Google Play Store and Apple Inc (AAPL.O) App Store in India from Thursday evening.

The removal of BGMI, which has more than 100 million users in India, comes after India banned another Crafton title in 2020, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG).

Sign up now for FREE unlimited access to

PUBG’s crackdown was part of a ban on more than 100 mobile apps of Chinese origin in New Delhi after months of border standoff between the nuclear-armed rivals.

The ban has expanded to cover more than 300 apps, including the popular Free Fire game app owned by Singaporean technology group Sea Ltd. (SE.N).

According to Krafton’s regulatory filings, Tencent held a 13.5% stake in Crafton through an investment vehicle as of the end of March.

Krafton shares fell more than 9% on the news on Friday, after losing 4.5% in afternoon trading in Seoul. India accounted for a high single-digit percentage of its revenue in the first quarter of this year, the company said in May.

A Google spokesperson said it blocked the game at the government’s direction, while India’s Ministry of Information Technology and Apple did not respond to requests for comment.

A Crafton spokesperson in Seoul said the developer is talking to the relevant authorities and companies to understand the exact situation surrounding the suspension of the two major app stores in India.

“The government does not interfere with what apps can and cannot work. They interfere with digital security and privacy issues, and BGMI complies with all guidelines. MeitY (Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology) also noted that PUBG and BGMI are different games,” Crafton said. India CEO Sean Hyunil Sohn told TechCrunch news earlier this week.


A source with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters, but declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter, that India invoked a section of the IT law to impose the ban.

Section 69A of India’s IT Act allows the government to block access to public content in the interest of national security, among other reasons. Orders issued under the section are generally confidential.

Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) and non-profit organization Prahar have repeatedly asked the government to look into the “Chinese influence” of BGMI, Prahar president Abhay Mishra said. The SJM is the economic wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, an influential Hindu nationalist group close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling party.

“The so-called new avatar, BGMI, was no different from the old PUBG, with Tencent still running it in the background,” Mishra said.

The ban has sparked online reactions from popular players in India on Twitter and YouTube.

“I hope our government understands that thousands of esports athletes and content creators and their lives depend on BGMI,” said Twitter user Abhijeet Andhare, who has over 92,000 followers.

Sign up now for FREE unlimited access to

Reporting by Aditya Kalra and Munsif Vengattil in New Delhi, Joyce Lee in Seoul; Additional reporting by Nupur Anand; Edited by Kirsten Donovan, Clarence Fernandez and Muralikumar Anantharaman

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

About the author


Leave a Comment