China targets 41 apps in privacy clamp

Business | Agencies and Stella Zhai 20 Dec 2019

China on Thursday criticized 41 apps including Tencent's (0700) messaging app QQ, Xiaomi's (1810) financing app and Sina's sports app for allegedly forcing users to hand over personal data, part of an ongoing campaign to boost digital privacy protections.

The apps were ordered to make changes by December 31 or face prosecution, the industry and information technology ministry said, adding that Tencent's app made it difficult to deactivate accounts and required users to authorize access to a broad range of data.

Tencent also said 32 of its games have been or is in the process of being removed as they failed to connect into its anti-indulgence system, which has been applied in 147 of its online games, covering 98 percent of users.

In other news, Alibaba (9988) and finance affiliate Ant Financial unveiled a series of management changes, including appointing Simon Hu Xiaoming as the new chief executive for Ant, succeeding Eric Jing Xiandong, who will remain executive chairman.

Hu, who has served as the company's president since November 2018, will among other things oversee Alipay and the Digital Finance group, according to an internal memo.

Cheng Li, chief technology officer for Ant, will move over to become CTO for Alibaba, reporting directly to CEO Daniel Zhang Yong. Jeff Zhang, the current CTO for Alibaba, will remain chairman of the Alibaba Technology Committee and lead the company's overall tech strategy.

Shares of Alibaba rose 1.09 percent to HK$204.80 yesterday.

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