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Garena Free Fire banned in India

Battle royale among several apps to be blocked from the country due to apparent links to China

Garena Free Fire has been banned in India following orders from the government to block China-linked apps in the country.

The game is among 53 other apps that have been banned under Section 69A of the IT Act in the country, as per Techcrunch.

Many of the apps named are considered clones of over 300 apps connected to Beijing, which have been prohibited in India since 2020. While Garena is based in Singapore, 18.7% of the company is owned by Tencent.

In a statement, a Google spokesperson confirmed that the company is complying with the ban, and said "we have notified the affected developers and have temporarily blocked access to the apps that remained available on the Play Store in India."

According to data from Sensor Tower, Free Fire and Free Fire Max (an enhanced version of the former) saw over 238 million downloads in India prior to the ban. A majority of the game's installs during 2021 also came from the country.

Garena's prominence in the country followed the removal of PUBG in September 2020 as part of a similar wave of government issued bans. In July 2021, Krafton released Battlegrounds Mobile India exclusively in the country.

Last month, Krafton filed a copyright lawsuit against various app store owners over Garena Free Fire, alleging that the games "extensively copy numerous aspects of Battlegrounds."

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