PUBG Mobile banned in India as tensions with China rise

By Steven Rondina


Sep 3, 2020

Reading time: 3 min

PUBG Mobile might be dead in the water and it could threaten the existence of Bluehole.

The popular mobile battle royale has been banned in India. PUBG Mobile was on a list of 118 mobile apps that were banned in the country due to security concerns. These stemmed from the app being developed by Chinese tech conglomerate Tencent Holdings. Tencent developed PUBG Mobile and also has a small ownership stake in PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds publisher Bluehole.

The governments of India and China have been increasingly hostile towards one another due to a series of border skirmishes that have claimed the lives of multiple soldiers. This has seen the Indian government make a number of aggressive maneuvers within its own borders against China, meant to hit the country in the wallet.

This began in July with 59 apps being banned in the country, most notably social media apps TikTok and WeChat. This latest round of bans sees that total tripled to 177 banned apps. 

The list of banned apps is largely made up of smaller assistant and technical apps, such as flashlights, MP3 players, and photo editors. It also includes a number of other notable apps tied to Chinese companies that were missed in the original series of bans including Huya, AliPay, and Baidu. PUBG Mobile was banned alongside a number of other notable mobile games such as Arena of Valor and Rise of Kingdoms.

India is making aggressive moves but they’re not alone on this front as United States President Donald Trump has been beating a similar drum, notably banning TikTok and almost banning popular PC title League of Legends in the process.

PUBG has been a constant source of conflict in Asia

India is key to PUBG Mobile’s success

While the PC and console versions of PUBG have been struggling over recent years, its mobile spin-off has been booming. PUBG Mobile is one of the most popular apps in the world, garnering hundreds of millions of downloads.

The biggest part of the success of PUBG Mobile is the game’s success in India. The game has been downloaded by over 200 million people in India. It was among the most popular apps in the country. 

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The popularity of PUBG Mobile has seen it become a hot topic in the country in the past, with a veritable media panic popping up over the game’s alleged addictiveness and ability to cause players to become violent. While it was previously banned in other countries and even some cities in India, the game’s death in India stems from other causes.

Though PUBG Mobile was wildly popular in India, the nature of the conflict and the growing global cybersecurity concerns surrounding Chinese mobile apps means that it’s unlikely to be unbanned. Indian PUBG Mobile players will need to get the PC version in order to scratch the battle royale itch.


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