UC Web, the Indian subsidiary of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding, reiterated its unwavering commitment to the market on Sunday, after it was summoned by a local court in a case filed by a former employee.
“UC has been unwavering in its commitment to the India market and the welfare of its local employees, and its policies are in compliance with local laws,” UC Web, which operates UC Browser, a mobile phone browser, and UC News, a news aggregation service, in India, said in a statement.
Earlier on Sunday, Reuters reported that Alibaba and Jack Ma, its founder, had been summoned by a district court in Gurugram, a satellite city next to New Delhi, India’s capital, in a case brought by a former employee, Pushpandra Singh Parmar, who alleges that the company used to censor content seen as unfavourable to China, and that its apps UC Browser and UC News showcased false news “to cause social and political turmoil”. Parmar worked as an associate director at the UC Web office in Gurugram until October 2017, and is seeking US$268,000 in damages.
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Civil Judge Sonia Sheokand issued the summons and asked the persons named to appear in court or through a lawyer on July 29, Reuters reported. The judge has also sought written responses from the company and its executives within 30 days, according to the summons.
UC Web said that it was unable to comment on the ongoing litigation.
UC Browser has more than 430 million active users globally, of which 130 million are in India. According to StatCounter, a web analytics firm, the browser was the second leading mobile browser in India with a 10 per cent market share, after Google Chrome, as of June.
The case comes weeks after India banned 59 Chinese apps, those of UC Web, citing security concerns. New Delhi said it banned the apps after it received “credible inputs” that suggested these apps posed a threat to India’s sovereignty. The country’s information technology minister said the decision was taken to safeguard citizens’ data and public order.
Beijing has criticised the ban. A clash between the two countries’ military forces along a shared border has led to heightened tensions between China and India.
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