Meesho rival and ecommerce startup Shopee exits India

Singapore-based Sea, the parent company of recently banned gaming app Garena Free Fire, has decided to pull the plug on its ecommerce operations in India under the Shopee brand.
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Sea, the Singaporean parent company of ecommerce platform Shopee, has decided to stop operations of its ecommerce arm in India. Though Sea only launched its India services in October 2021, it has already had run-ins with the government.

In February this year, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) banned 54 apps from Google Play Store, including Sea's popular gaming app Garena Free Fire. Free Fire was the most downloaded game in the world in 2019 and 2020, and had a huge fanbase in India.

The 54 apps that were banned in February were targetted due to "security concerns". In a similar move, the government banned 118 apps in September 2020, including popular gaming app PUBG, which also used battleground royale form of gameplay.

The day after the ban, Sea's stock price plummeted. Its valuation on the New York Stock Exchange dropped 18 percent in a single day, wiping out more than $16 billion from the company's market capitalisation. Sea's value dropped from $87.8 billion on February 11, 2022 to $71.6 billion on February 14, after the Indian government's announcement.

The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) had accused Shopee of violating competition norms, and using predatory pricing strategies such as flash sales where products were priced at Re 1, Rs 9, and Rs 49. Earlier this month, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) had dismissed these claims.

Shopee's exit from India comes following the ban on Sea's most successful app, the decimation of their market valuation, and the troubles with Shopee.

In a statement, Shopee said it would work "to support local seller and buyer communities and our local team to make the process as smooth as possible."

Edited by Kanishk Singh

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