China’s Qihoo hit with unfair competition warning, apps removed

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qihoo 360

Internet security and software company Qihoo, one of Baidu’s main competitors in the search space, isn’t having a good week: its apps have been removed from Apple’s App Store and it’s received an unfair competition warning for its mobile browser.

According to Bloomberg, the makers of China’s most popular web browser was issued with a warning from the Beijing Industrial and Commercial Administration Bureau, saying that the use of anti-virus software in its browsers was considered unfair competition.

Qihoo’s Chief Financial Officer Alex Xu played down the warning, saying that the industry is now viewing unfair competition claims as just a “legal and regulatory manoeuvre frequently used by Chinese companies to slow competitors’ gaining.” He also suggested to Bloomberg that Baidu was up to something, saying that their competitor is using a plug-in to detect if users have Qihoo’s browser installed. He said that Baidu presents users with a pop-up that tells them that Qihoo’s browser is incompatible with its own in an attempt to “lure users to change browsers.”

The two companies have been battling each other in many forms, most recently when Baidu accused Qihoo of copying its results in its search engine 360, which has quickly grown to account for around 10% of China’s search marketshare over Baidu’s 72%. The companies also compete in the mobile browser and antivirus app space.

Regarding the suspicious absence of the company’s iOS apps from the App Store, Xu said the apps were “abruptly removed” without any explanation from Apple. As apps by other major Chinese players like Baidu and Tencent have been temporarily removed from the store previously, Xu said that Qihoo wasn’t overly concerned and was working on reaching an agreement with Apple.

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