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Alibaba’s web browser removed from Chinese app stores

Bloomberg News | Updated on March 17, 2021

The report comes at a sensitive time for Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, which is grappling with intensifying government scrutiny over its growing influence in the internet and media spheres, with uncertain outcomes

Alibaba’s UC Browser vanished from China’s largest app stores after state-backed broadcaster CCTV blasted the popular mobile browser along with other services for failing consumers.

Government-run China Central Television included the app among a number of brands it accused of flouting consumer rights in its annual name-and-shame program for March 15, World Consumer Rights Day. App stores run by Huawei Technologies Co. and Xiaomi Corp. were among the local app stores that’ve since pulled the app, though Apple Inc. continues to offer UCWeb for iOS users.

Also read: Alibaba beats quarterly revenue estimates on online boom

The browser was among a plethora of consumer products called out on Monday. 360 Security Technology Inc.’s shares fell in Shanghai after CCTV reported that ads in its search product contained fake medical information, while the broadcaster also went after everything from Nissan Motor Co.-owned Infiniti’s customer service to face-recognition software failings.

But the report came at a sensitive time for Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, which is grappling with intensifying government scrutiny over its growing influence in the internet and media spheres, with uncertain outcomes. Like 360, it was accused of running fake ads.

The Alibaba unit apologised in a statement for its “issues,” as is customary of companies named on the day. It pledged to set up a dedicated team to look into the allegations. “We will take further steps to strengthen our review procedures and enforce more rigorous standards,” the company said in its statement.

UC Browser’s removal was first reported by the Financial Times.

Published on March 17, 2021

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