India’s government blocked a popular battle-royal format game from South Korean company Crafton Inc (259960. KS), backed by China’s Tencent (0700. HK), as it worried about its data sharing and mining in China, which is a source of the Government of India. Told.
New Delhi used powers under India’s IT law to block Battleground Mobile India (BGMI), a government official and another source with direct knowledge, from 2020 several other Chinese apps over national security concerns. Depends on the provision of prohibition.
The Indian government has not publicly announced the blocking. But the app was removed from Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google Play Store and Apple Inc’s (AAPL.O) App Store in India on Thursday evening.
The removal of BGMI, which had over 100 million users in India, comes after the South Asian country banned another Crafton title, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), in 2020.
PUBG’s action was part of New Delhi’s ban on over 100 mobile apps of Chinese origin after months of a standoff between nuclear-armed rivals.
The ban has been expanded to cover over 300 apps, including ‘Free Fire’, the popular gaming app owned by Singapore-based technology conglomerate C Limited (SEN).
As of the end of March, Tencent held a 13.5% stake in Crafton through an investment vehicle, according to Crafton’s regulatory filing.
Shares of Crafton fell more than 9% on the news on Friday, after closing losses in Seoul down 4.5%. In May, the company said that India reported a high single-digit percentage of its revenue in the first quarter of this year.
A Google spokesperson said it blocked the game following a government directive, while India’s IT ministry and Apple did not respond to requests for comment. The sources declined to be named as such orders are confidential.
The Chinese embassy in New Delhi did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In Seoul, a Krafton spokesperson said the developer was talking to relevant authorities and companies to figure out the exact situation regarding the suspension in India’s two major app stores.
Krafton’s India CEO Sean Hyunil Sohn told news portal TechCrunch earlier this week that the Indian government had previously noted that PUBG and BGMI are different games, adding that “BGMI complies with all guidelines” in India.