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China removes Alibaba browser from Android app stores

BEIJING: Chinese app stores have removed the UC browser from the Alibaba mobile group, after it was criticized in China’s annual consumer rights program for inclusion of medical ads by unqualified companies.

China has tightened regulations for the vast internet sector, as the e-commerce empire founded by billionaire Jack Ma faces intense scrutiny.

UC Browser could not be downloaded from Android app stores run by major Chinese phone makers Huawei, Xiaomi Corp and Vivo as of Tuesday evening. It was still available on Apple Inc.’s Chinese App Store.

UC Browser was among several Chinese and foreign companies targeted for criticism for a range of issues in the popular prime-time program “315” that airs on China Central Television for two hours Monday evening.

UC Browser, which says it has more than 400 million monthly active users globally, issued an apology after the show and said it had launched an investigation and initiated corrective action.

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

“We will enhance the supervision mechanism and sense of responsibility for the platform, and provide users with high-quality information services with more stringent standards,” the University of California said Monday, “We urge users to continue to supervise us.”

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

Apps in China have been temporarily removed from app stories in the past, and existing users have not been affected.

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

“Some platform companies are developing in an irregular manner and taking risks; a statement of the meeting by the New China News Agency (Xinhua) said that the platform economy has not been fully developed and has shortcomings, and we have a prominent problem that the regulatory system is not adapted to this issue.

A Chinese ministry also asked major app stores on Tuesday to remove four apps named in the CCTV Show to mislead users into downloading and collecting excessive private information.

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