India lifts ban on Krafton’s mobile game BGMI


(Reuters) – India has approved popular mobile game Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI) to be relaunched for a trial period after a 10-month ban, South Korean game developer Krafton said on Friday.

South Korea’s foreign affairs and culture ministries held meetings with their Indian counterparts to help lift the ban, a Krafton Inc (259960.KS) representative said.

The Indian government blocked BGMI, the flagship game made by Krafton last July, citing concerns about its data-sharing and mining in China.

Krafton is backed by China’s Tencent (0700.HK) which owns around a 13.5% stake.

The three-month trial approval of the game was agreed after it complied with issues of server locations and data security, Indian deputy minister for Information Technology, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, said in a tweet.

Daishin Securities analyst Jeeeun Lee said the spillover from political spats with China to Krafton will be limited.

“It will be tough for India to impose an outright ban on companies affiliated with China over political issues when they operate through a local corporation that hire Indian workers like Krafton for instance,” she said.

Shares of Krafton rose 1.45% compared to the wider KOSPI index’s 0.89% rise when the market closed on Friday.

At the time of its removal from Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google Play Store and Apple Inc’s (AAPL.O) App Store, BGMI had more than 100 million users in India.

A Facebook page for the title says the game will be available for download soon.

The government will keep a close watch on other issues of user harm and addiction in the trial period before making a final decision, Chandrasekhar added.

New Delhi banned another Krafton title, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), in 2020, following which the company launched BGMI.

The ban on PUBG was part of a larger ban on more than 300 Chinese apps, including short-video platform TikTok, after the government ramped up its scrutiny of Chinese businesses in the wake of a 2020 clash between the neighbours.

The government also intensified the scrutiny of investments by Chinese firms in Indian companies.

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