Jack Ma, CEO of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, speaks during his visit at the Vivatech startups and innovation fair, in Paris on May 16, 2019.
Philippe Lopez | AFP | Getty Images
Android app stores including those operated by Huawei, Xiaomi and Tencent have reportedly blocked downloads or removed Alibaba’s “UC Browser.” CNBC was unable to immediately confirm the report.
It comes after the UC Browser was criticized on a TV show about misleading online medical advertising that was broadcast by CCTV, a state-owned broadcaster.
The show accused the browser of allowing private hospitals to bid for the names of China’s best known hospitals in keyword searches, potentially luring patients to their websites instead of the public hospitals they meant to visit.
A spokesperson from Alibaba’s UC Browser team told CNBC: “We attach high importance to problems shown in the show, and quickly conducted a series of measure to check and correct.”
They said the “illegal ad contents” that was referred to in the CCTV show had been removed immediately.
“We will further enhance content review and shoulder more responsibility, and provide good info services with stricter standards,” they added.
It comes as Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Monday that Beijing’s crackdown on large technology firms was just beginning. “Some platform companies’ development is not standard and risks exist,” Xi said in an address to China’s top economic committee, according to state broadcaster CCTV.
Regulators blocked the $37 billion IPO of Alibaba’s financial technology affiliate Ant Group last November and Jack Ma, Alibaba’s founder and the richest person in China, has hardly been seen in public since.