Singapore Reportedly Raises Concerns With India Over Free Fire Ban
Seeks clarity on the sudden ban
It was a huge blow for the Indian mobile ecosystem when one of the most popular mobile titles in the country, Free Fire, was banned by the government earlier this month on 14th February.
The move resulted in Free Fire's parent company, Sea Ltd (SE.N) - the New York-listed Southeast Asian firm, losing $16 Billion USD in a single day. Now more than a week later, the Singapore government has reportedly raised concerns about the game's ban in the country with the Indian government.
This is the first sign of an alleged diplomatic intervention related to the incident between the two countries, as concerned investors are worried by the sudden ban that had caught many by surprise.
Report: Singapore government approaches Indian officials seeking clarity over Free Fire ban
The technology group Sea Ltd which owns Garena is allegedly seeking clarity from the Indian government about Free Fire's ban in the country. According to a report by Reuters, with the backing of the Singapore government, the company seeks clarity on the situation.
Two Indian government officials have reportedly said that the Singapore government has asked questions about why the app (Free Fire) had been targeted in a crackdown against the Chinese apps because Sea Ltd is headquartered in Singapore.
Singapore has further specifically raised the query if the app was banned unintentionally, said one of the Indian officials.
According to the reports, all the queries were raised with India's external affairs ministry, who further routed them to the information technology (IT) department which imposed the ban.
So far, no response has been given by the Indian government regarding the supposed queries raised by Singapore officials.
In a separate statement to Reuters, Sea Ltd said that "We do not transfer to, or store any data of our Indian users in, China," additionally stating that they comply with all Indian laws.
Further, it was reportedly revealed that Sea Ltd received knowledge about the ban from Alphabet Inc's Google. While they did not disclose the reason behind the removal of the game from the Play Store, Google informed Sea Ltd that it was following orders from the Indian government.
While Free Fire has been banned in India for both Android and iOS users, the premium version of the title, Free Fire MAX is still available on the Google Play Store.