Government Quietly Blocking PUBG Replacement; Ola halted EV production after ‘inventory stacking’

This morning, we reported that Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI), India’s version of PUBG, disappeared from Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store on Thursday night. Now, a source has told Reuters the government silently ordered the blocking because it fears the hugely popular game is sharing user data with entities in China.

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Also in this letter:
■ Ola Electric halted production of electric vehicles due to “inventory stacking”
■ Will continue to invest in India and other emerging markets: Amazon
■ Now Zilingo COO Aadi Vaidya calls him quits


India blocks BGMI over data sharing issues with China: report

BMI

The Indian government used its powers under the IT Act to block Krafton Mobile India (BGMI) Battlegroundsthe local version of hugely popular mobile game PUBG, Reuters reported, citing an unnamed government source.

BGMI had over 100 million users in India.

Why? The government is concerned about its sharing and exploitation of data in China, the source said. Krafton, a South Korean company, is backed by China’s Tencent, which held a 13.5% stake through an investment vehicle at the end of March, according to a regulatory filing.

silent ban: The government did not publicly announce the blockage, but the app was removed from Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store on Thursday night.

India invoked a section of its computer law, called 69A, to impose the ban, two sources with direct knowledge told Reuters.

The section allows the government to block public access to content in the interest of national security, among other reasons. Orders issued under this section are generally confidential.

Strong reactions: The ban drew strong reactions on Twitter and YouTube from popular gamers in India.

“I hope our government understands that thousands of esports athletes and content creators and their lives depend on BGMI,” tweeted Abhijeet Andhare, a Twitter user with over 92,000 followers.

War on apps: PUBG was banned in India along with more than 100 other China-related apps in 2020, after a months-long border standoff between the two countries. The ban has since been extended to more than 300 apps, including popular gaming app Free Fire, owned by Singaporean tech group Sea Ltd.


Ola Electric has halted EV production due to ‘inventory stacking’

Ola Electric

Ola Electric suspended the production of its electric scooters in its factory in Krishnagiri, Tamil Nadu, for almost a week, mainly because it had too many stocks, sources tell us.

While the company maintained that the plant was closed for annual maintenance and the installation of new machinery, three people familiar with the development said that the accumulation of inventory was the main reason for the shutdown of the tools.

Details: Ola Electric has around 4,000 scooters crammed into the factory, which it calls “Future Factory”. According to a source, when Ola Electric shut down the line on July 21, it was producing only 100 units a day, compared to its current capacity of 600.

Ola began trial production at the Tamil Nadu factory in October and regular production in December. So it’s only been about eight months since production really started.

denial: “Like most car manufacturers who carry out annual maintenance in their factories, we have also done this. At no time can this be considered a production stoppage. Therefore, clarifying that (the information) is false an Ola spokesperson told us.

The company did not specify its daily production and booking figures. He did not specify the duration of the suspension but maintained that it was brief.

Ola turns 1,000 to focus on electrics: On Friday morning we reported that Ola is in the process of laying off approximately 1,000 employees across all verticals.

The restructuring exercise – which is expected to last a few more weeks – aims to increase Ola’s focus on its electric mobility business, for which it is hiring “aggressively”, according to executives engaged in the recruitment process.


Still early days in emerging markets like India, will continue to invest: Amazon

Amazon

After posting a $1.7 billion loss in its overseas business in the second quarter, Amazon said the company is still in its infancy in emerging markets such as India and that it will continue to invest in its overseas operations.

Quotation: “I think it’s important to remember that this is the beginning in many of our international countries, especially in some of our emerging or more recently launched markets like India, Brazil and the Middle East” , said Dave Fildes, director of investor relations at Amazon.

Overall, Amazon posted a 7% increase in second-quarter revenue to $121 billion, although it suffered a net loss of $2 billion from a profit of $7.8 billion. dollars a year ago.

Apple almost doubles its revenue in India: Meanwhile, Apple almost doubled its revenue in India in the second quarter and also posted record growth in other emerging markets, chief executive Tim Cook said on an earnings call.

According to CyberMedia Research (CMR), Apple shipped over 1.2 million iPhones to India in the second quarter, a year-on-year increase of 94%.

Tweet of the day


Zilingo COO Aadi Vaidya quits struggling company

Aadi Vaidya

The embattled Singapore-based start-up, Zilingo, has saw another high-profile exit from COO Aadi Vaidyatwo months after the The company fired chief executive Ankiti Bose over alleged financial irregularities, Bloomberg reported.

Vaidya joined the company in 2015 and became its COO two years later. I own a 2% stake in Zilingo.

Plenty of temporary jobs: Meanwhile, according to data from recruitment firm ManpowerGroup India, the upcoming festive season is expected to assist in the creation of 500,000 to 550,000 new temporary jobs as businesses rush to meet pent-up post-pandemic demand. Around 70% of the demand for new jobs will be in delivery, logistics and warehousing.

Swiggy makes the WFA permanent: Swiggy has announced a permanent work-from-anywhere option for most of its jobs as part of its “future of work policy”. Earlier this year, social commerce startup Meesho announced a similar option for its employees.


Summary of ETech offers

Seed funding

It was another calm week, with no startups raising big fundraisers, as VCs remained cautious in a choppy environment. Agri-fintech Jai Kisan and PriceLabs were the only startups to raise moderate amounts.

Here is a list of all the startups that raised funds this week.

Summary of offers

Today’s ETtech Top 5 newsletter was curated by Zaheer Merchant in Mumbai and Ruchir Vyas in New Delhi. Graphics and illustrations by Rahul Awasthi.