Jack Ma, CEO of the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, speaks during his visit to the Vivatech trade fair for startups and innovations on May 16, 2019 in Paris.
Philippe Lopez | AFP | Getty Images
Alibaba’s internet browser has been removed from several app stores in China as the company’s feud with the Chinese government continues.
According to app owners from Huawei and Xiaomi who spoke to CNBC, Android app stores, including those operated by Huawei and Xiaomi, have blocked downloads or removed Alibaba’s “UC browser”.
However, a Samsung phone owner in China said he could still see the browser on Samsung’s App Store. The UC browser is still available in the Apple App Store.
The news was first reported by the Financial Times.
It comes after the UC browser was criticized for misleading online medical advertising on a TV show broadcast by state broadcaster CCTV.
The show accused the browser of allowing private hospitals to bid on the names of China’s most famous hospitals on keyword searches. In doing so, they may attract patients to their websites instead of the public hospitals they are supposed to visit.
A spokesman for Alibaba’s UC Browser team told CNBC, “We paid great attention to the issues shown on the show and were quick to implement a series of review and correction actions.”
They said the “illegal ad content” referred to on the CCTV show was immediately removed.
“We will continue to improve and take responsibility for content review and provide good information services with stricter standards,” they added.
It comes as a Chinese President Xi Jinping said Monday that Beijing’s crackdown on large tech companies has only just begun. “The development of some platform companies is not standard and there are risks,” said Xi in an address to China’s highest economic body, according to the state broadcaster CCTV.
Regulators blocked the $ 37 billion IPO of Antibaba’s financial technology subsidiary Ant Group last November, and Jack Ma, Alibaba’s founder and richest person in China, has been barely seen in public since then.
– Additional coverage from CNBC’s Arjun Kharpal.