Alibaba's UC Browser removed from Chinese Android app stores

BEIJING, March 16 (Reuters) - Chinese app stores on Tuesday had removed the UC Browser web and smartphone browser owned by Alibaba, a day after it was criticised on Chinese state television’s annual consumer rights show for including medical ads by unqualified companies.

The app could not be downloaded on Android app stores operated by major Chinese phone makers Huawei, Xiaomi Corp and Vivo as of Tuesday afternoon. It was still available on Apple Inc’s app store.

UC Browser was among numerous Chinese and foreign companies targeted for criticism on China Central Television’s (CCTV) popular two-hour prime time “315” show on Monday night.

Following the show, UC issued an apology and said it had begun an investigation and initiated corrective measures. On Tuesday, Alibaba referred to the UC statement in response to a request for comment on the removal by the app stores.

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

Reporting by Yingzhi Yang, Sophie Yu, and Tony Munroe; editing by David Evans