Chinese startup Xiaohongshu’s app pulled from China Android stores

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Chinese startup Xiaohongshu, which allows users to post product reviews and share shopping experiences, said on Thursday it will conduct a self-examination and correct its content after its app was removed from Android stores in China this week.

A man walks past the booth of Chinese startup Xiaohongshu, which means “little red book” in Chinese, at the Big Data Expo in Guiyang, Guizhou province, China May 27, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer

“Xiaohongshu’s app has recently been removed from every major app store,” the firm said in a statement on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like social media platform.

“Xiaohongshu has also launched a comprehensive investigation, rectification, and in-depth self-examination of the contents of the site, and will actively cooperate with relevant authorities to promote the improvement of the internet environment.

The announcement likely marks another instance of a clampdown in China on consumer tech companies in various sectors, from gaming to news.

Chinese apps that host lots of user-generated articles, reviews and videos are frequent targets of the country’s internet authorities, which police the web for pornographic content, politically sensitive content and fake product reviews.

In June, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), which oversees the country’s cyber policy, said it had called for 26 audio-centric apps to be removed from app stores. Among them was Ximalaya, a popular program in China for podcasts.

It was not clear what the offending content was on the app, nor if and when it would be available for download again on Android.

The CAC did not immediately respond to a faxed request for comment.

Xiaohongshu, one of China’s fastest growing tech startups, was likely to be valued at about $6 billion after a fundraising, tech news site The Information reported in June.

Earlier this week, users online noticed that Xiaohongshu, which means ‘little red book’ in Chinese, was not available in major China Android app stores including those for Xiaomi and Huawei phones. It remained accessible in other stores, including Apple’s App Store.

(The story corrects paragraph six to say CAC called for removal of 26 audio-centric apps in June, not July.)

Reporting by Josh Horwitz and Brenda Goh; Additional reporting by Pei Li; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman

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