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Alibaba postpones creation of news aggregator in Russia due to new law

Mobile division of China's Alibaba Group - Alibaba Mobile Business Group (UCWeb brand) has postponed creation of the mobile news aggregator in Russia until 2017, in particular due to a new law regulating this segment, Alex Qi, head of the department for the development of UCWeb business in Russia, told reporters.

Earlier regional director of Alibaba Mobile Business Group in Russia and CIS Vincent Wu told TASS about the company's plans to create its own news aggregator. The launch of the aggregator was scheduled for 2015.

Currently the browser of UC Browser company already has a built-in news aggregator, but it works on the basis of resources of partners, who are responsible for news and their moderation.

In Russia UCWeb plans to launch a separate mobile app for scrolling the news, Qi said.

"Independently we will be able to get down to this (creation and launch an aggregator - TASS) only next year, in particular due to legislative changes," he said.

He added that due to adoption of the new law the company needs to study the situation more carefully.

Under the new federal law which comes into force on January 1, 2017, large online news aggregators will be equated to mass media.

The document, in particular, sets requirements for owners of news aggregators: it is forbidden to use aggregators for disclosure of information containing a state secret, dissemination of calls for terrorism or public justification of terrorism.

Owners of news aggregators will be required to "verify the authenticity of publicly important information before they spread it and immediately cease distribution on the basis of regulations" (Russia's IT watchdog Roskomnadzor).

Roskomnadzor, in its turn, said it would not take action against news aggregators which are registered as mass media, websites of the state authorities of the Russian Federation, as well as websites of state and municipal enterprises in case of spread of false information from those websites. Thus, the news aggregator will be able to use certain information without additional testing if there are reliable data about the sources.

Also, according to the law, owners of aggregators are obliged to prevent the use of the service for the dissemination of the news with the purpose discredit citizens on the ground of their gender, age, racial or ethnic origin, as well as in connection with their political beliefs. They are obliged to comply observe the prohibitions and restrictions the Russian law on elections envisages.

Other plans on business development in Russia

Earlier, a representative with Alibaba Mobile Business Group told TASS that before 2018 UC Browser plans to take second place on the Russian market after Chrome. Now the Chinese browser is the fourth largest browser in Russia (after Chrome, Safari and Yandex Browser).

"Now there a team in Russia that helps us adjust UC Browser to the needs of Russian consumers," Qi said.

He said that now the number of daily users of mobile browser UC Browser has reached 10 million people in Russia. Qi did not give any specific forecasts on the number of users for 2017.

According LiveInternet, in November 2015 the audience of UC Browser in Russia was 2.3 million and during the year the number of Russian users has grown by more than 4 times.

In order to increase its share on the Russian market the Chinese company is in talks on UC Browser preset for smartphones that are supplied to the Russian market.

"We're working on it, we communicate with the company we have global agreements with Lenovo and ZTE which are also effective on the territory of Russia," Qi said, adding that the application is pre-installed on some models of smartphones of these brands.

The company is also negotiating with other vendors of phones (including Samsung and Sony, and with local vendors such as Explay and Fly), but it is too early to speak about specific agreements.

In 2017, UCWeb also plans to develop in Russia such businesses as Internet commerce and mobile games. Now the company is already working with Yandex.Market and plans to intensify this cooperation.

"We are looking towards an exclusive partnership, so far we are not ready yet to tell the details," Qi said.

As for the mobile gaming market, the mobile platform of Alibaba's subsidiary - NineStore - has already been launched on the Russian market.

UCWeb is in talks with Group on integration of their solutions into mobile products and games of the Odnoklassniki (Classmates) social network, which is owned by the Russian group, Dmitry Lushnikov, the representative of UCWeb said.

[Source: Itar Tass, Moscow, 21Dec16]

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small logoThis document has been published on 26Dec16 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.