UC Web, a subsidiary of Chinese internet company Alibaba Group, has suspended operations in India and laid off nearly 90 percent of its more than 350 employees,media reported. Some assistant, management and junior positions have been verbally informed of the layoffs via video conference. According to one of the people familiar with the matter, all employees were given at least 30 days’ advance notice.
On June 29th India banned 59 Chinese apps, including TikTok, Helo, UC Browser, UC News and WeChat, amid rising tensions along india’s border with its northern neighbour Ladakh. TikTok is the most popular of the banned apps, with more than 200 million active users in India.
A UCWeb spokesman told Mint on Thursday that it had complied with the Indian government’s recent directive on 59 apps and stopped the service.
Since its operation in India in 2009, UCWeb has operated a mobile browser — UC browser — and a news aggregation service, UC News.
It is understood that Alibaba’s UC browser has more than 430 million active users worldwide, of which 130 million are in India. As of June, UC browserwased as India’s second-largest mobile browser, with a market share of 10%, after Google Chrome, according to StatCounter, a web analytics firm.
Mint said in a July 2 report that most of the Banned Chinese apps in India have a large active user base, accounting for 5 percent of total installations in the Apple App Store and Google’s Play Store between April and June, with 330 million new installations.
The ban comes after Chinese internet companies unveiled detailed investment plans and business strategies in India. Byte Dance, which owns TikTok and Helo, has said it plans to invest up to $1bn in India. UC Web also detailed plans to launch a wholly-owned e-commerce business in India in September 2019. At the time, the company also planned to launch an online movie ticket.