Chinese internet giant Alibaba Group’s subsidiary UC Web is slashing nearly 90% of its workforce in India as the company suspends its operations in the country amid the ban on Chinese apps announced by the Indian government recently, according to sources and staff.
UC Web currently employs 350 people in India.
Sources told LiveMint that a verbal communication has been sent out to several employees at the managerial, associate and entry-level through video conferencing informing them about the layoffs.
One of the sources said that all employees have been given a minimum of 30 days’ notice.
This comes against the backdrop of the banning of 59 Chinese apps, including TikTok, UC Browser, UC News, WeChat, ShareChat by the Indian government after tensions escalated between India and China following the border skirmish in Ladakh.
UC Web reportedly communicated to some employees via a letter dated July 15 that they would lose their jobs.
In the company letter addressed to employees that was seen by Reuters, it was mentioned that, “This termination is on account of the ban imposed by the government of India on UCWeb and Vmate, hampering the company's ability to continue providing services in India.”
UC Web said in a statement that it had complied with the government’s order and stopped services. However, it declined to specify if it had shut operations entirely.
UC Web has been functioning in India since 2009 and operates a mobile browser UC Browser along with a news aggregation service, UC News.
UC Browser has over 430 million active users worldwide, out of which 130 million are in India. The company has close to 100 direct employees and several third-party workers, sources told Business Today.
As per web analytics firm StatCounter, UC Browser was the second leading mobile browser in India in June, with a 10% market share behind Google Chrome.