It looks like UC Browser is facing some trouble. The Chinese app stores have removed UC Browser for mobiles. To note, US Browser is developed by Alibaba, which has been under tight scrutiny following criticism from founder Jack Ma. Removing UC Browser means the app can’t be downloaded on Android smartphones operated by any Chinese brand.
Going into the details, the popular internet browsing app was removed after it was criticized on Chinese state television’s annual consumer rights show. UC Browser apparently includes medical advertisements by unqualified companies. The issue came to the limelight on Monday night (March 15) on China Central Television’s popular two-hour prime time “315” show.
Additionally, there were several other Chinese and foreign companies targeted alongside UC Browser on the show. Following the ban, UC Browser can’t be downloaded on Android app stores operated by Chinese makers like Vivo, Xiaomi, Huawei, and others. However, UC Browser can still be downloaded on Apple’s Chinese app store.
From the looks of it, internet platform has been the trending topic of discussion in China. “Some platform enterprises are developing in an irregular manner and bear risks; the platform economy is not fully developed and has shortcomings, and we have a prominent problem of the regulatory system not adjusting to this issue,” an official Xinhua news agency said.
Is Alibaba’s UC Browser Being Targeted?
Jack Ma-owned Alibaba has been under Chinese scrutiny for a while now, especially after Jack Ma criticized the Chinese government. With over 400 million monthly active users globally, UC Browser is among one of the most popular internet browsing platforms. Soon after the show, UC Browser issued an apology and said it had begun an investigation and initiated corrective measures.
“We will further strengthen the supervision mechanism and sense of responsibility of the platform, and provide users with high-quality information services with more stringent standards. We urge users to continue to supervise us,” Alibaba further responded after UC Browser’s statement.
This isn’t the first time Chinese authorities have banned apps and services. Apps in China have been temporarily suspended from app stores; however, they have minimal effect on users. Huawei, Vivo, nor Xiaomi have responded or released a statement on the ban yet.