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Exclusive: UC Browser decides to close India operations, employees set to lose jobs

UC Web, the company behind UC Browser, is shutting down its India operations and employees say they have been asked to leave. In its Gurgaon office, UC Web has over 100 employees.

twitter-logoAnkita Chakravarti | July 16, 2020 | Updated 14:58 IST

Highlights

  • UC Web is closing its India office due to uncertain future and business loss.
  • UC Web has around 100 employees in its Gurgaon office.
  • UC Browser and 58 other Chinese apps were banned by the government in June.  

UC Web, the company behind popular UC Browser, is shutting down India operations, India Today Tech learns. The company told its employees on July 15 that it is winding up the India operations due to uncertain future and business loss and that employees will have to leave. The company has around 100 employees in its main India office, which is in Gurgaon.

The details of how UC Web intends to wind up its India business are scarce at the moment. We have asked UC Web for a comment and will update the copy when we get it.

Update: A UC spokesperson has told India Today Tech that currently the browser is not operational in India because of a government directive. "We have complied with the government's recent directive concerning 59 apps and stopped the service," said a UC spokesperson.

UC Browser was one of the 59 Chinese apps that were banned by the Indian government on the evening of June 29, 2020. The government alleged that the apps were engaged in activities that were "prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, the security of the state and public order."

An employee working at the UC Browser, requesting anonymity, told India Today Tech that the employees under the Alibaba payroll were called on Wednesday (July 15) morning by the management and informed about the closure of the India business. The employee says that UC Browser cited "uncertainty of future due to ongoing issues and no progress or solutions despite talks with the government for the same and business losses" as the reason behind shutting down the business in India.

Announcing the shutdown, the management was quoted by the employee as saying, "Due to the ongoing issues, leading to uncertainty and business losses. We are shutting down UC Browser India operations."

The UC Browser India office is in Gurgaon and houses over 100 employees. India Today Tech learns that the employees of UC Browser were hired under two different payrolls, one managed by the Alibaba Group while the other one belongs to Tata Consultancy Services. The employee told the India Today Tech that while the contract of employees under Alibaba payroll was verbally terminated, TCS employees would have to sit for interviews internally within TCS and may get relocated to other projects, depending on vacancies.

Of all the employees in the Gurgaon office, around 50 were part of the news teams that were working on content aggregation for the UC Browser, a service that UC Web prominently promoted and highlighted in the last couple of years.

When asked whether the company has announced severances for the impacted employees, the employee said that no such announcements have been made so far. The employee said that the closure of the UC browser India office didn't come as a shock because since the Indian government banned the app, there were rumours that the UC Web would be closing the India business.

UC Browser, TikTok, and other banned apps were earlier removed from Google Play Store and Apple's App Store. As per the latest developments, all the banned Chinese apps have been asked by the government to answer 77 questions about censored content, lobbying of influencers, etc on their apps. They have been given three weeks to submit their answers to the government.

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