Alibaba’s UC browser has been removed from Chinese Android app stores

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Chinese app stores have removed Alibaba Group’s UC Browser for mobile phones after it was criticized at China’s annual consumer rights show for including medical ads by unqualified companies.

China is tightening regulation of its vast Internet sector, v Ali Baba an e-commerce empire founded by a billionaire Jack Ma facing particularly heavy control.

UC browser cannot be downloaded on Android app stores operated by major Chinese phone manufacturers Huawei,, Xiaomi, and Vivo from Tuesday night. It was still available at On Apple Chinese app store.

UC Browser was among several Chinese and foreign companies targeting criticism on a number of issues in the popular two-hour program “315” on Central Television on Monday night.

UC Browser, which says it has more than 400 million active users a month worldwide, apologized after the show and said it had launched an investigation and taken corrective action.

On Tuesday, Alibaba cited UC’s statement in response to a request for comment on the removal of UC from app stores.

“We will further strengthen the platform’s oversight mechanism and sense of responsibility and provide users with high-quality information services with stricter standards. We urge users to continue to monitor us,” UC said on Monday.

Huawei did not respond immediately to requests for comment. Xiaomi and Vivo declined to comment.

In the past, apps in China have been temporarily removed from app stories, with no existing users affected.

Internet platforms were the subject of a meeting Monday chaired by President Xi Jinping of the ruling Communist Party’s leaders in charge of financial and economic affairs.

“Some platform companies are developing in an irregular way and carry risks; the platform’s economy is not fully developed and has shortcomings and we have a clear problem that the regulatory system does not adapt to this problem,” a reading from the official Xinhua news agency said.

The Chinese ministry also asked major app stores on Tuesday to remove four apps listed on the CCTV show to trick users into downloading and collecting excessive personal information.

© Thomson Reuters 2021

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