SINGAPORE/NEW DELHI: Singapore has raised concerns with India about its ban of popular gaming app “Free Fire”, owned by technology group Sea Ltd, in the first sign of diplomatic intervention after the move spooked investors, four sources told Reuters.
After the ban, the market value of the New York-listed Southeast Asian firm dropped by $16 billion in a single day, and investors worry India could extend it to Sea’s e-commerce app, Shopee, which recently launched in the country.
The sources, who include two Indian government officials, said Singapore had asked Indian authorities why the app had been targeted in a widening crackdown on Chinese apps, even though Sea has its headquarters in the wealthy city state.
Singapore had queried if the app “was banned unintenationally,” said one of the Indian officials aware of the diplomatic initiative.
The concerns, raised with India’s external affairs ministry, were routed to the information technology (IT) department which ordered the ban, the two Indian sources said. The sources, who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the discussions, said they did not know how, and if, the Indian government planned to reply to Singapore’s concerns.
Spokespersons for the Singapore government and Sea did not immediately respond to emailed requests for comment. India’s IT department, its external affairs ministry and the office of the main government spokesperson also did not respond.