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Google suspends Chinese shopping app amid security concerns

The Pinduoduo app — mainly used in China — was suspended amid heightened U.S.-China tensions over Chinese-owned apps like TikTok.
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/ Source: The Associated Press

HONG KONG — Google has suspended the Chinese shopping app Pinduoduo on its app store after malware was discovered in versions of the app from other sources.

Google said in a statement Tuesday that it suspended the Pinduoduo app on the Google Play app store out of “security concerns” and that it was investigating the matter.

The suspension of the Pinduoduo app — mainly used in China — comes amid heightened U.S.-China tensions over Chinese-owned apps such as TikTok, which some U.S. lawmakers say could be a national security threat. They allege that such apps could be used to spy on American users.

Pinduoduo is a popular e-commerce app in China which often offers discounts if users team up to buy multiples of an item. Google warned users Tuesday to uninstall any Pinduoduo app not downloaded from its own Play store.

A woman walks past the reception desk at the headquarters of Pinduoduo in Shanghai on July 25, 2018.
The headquarters of Pinduoduo in Shanghai in 2018. Chinatopix via AP

“Google Play Protect enforcement has been set to block installation attempts of these identified malicious apps,” Google said in its statement. “Users that have malicious versions of the app downloaded to their devices are warned and prompted to uninstall the app.”

It was unclear if there are similar security concerns around the Pinduoduo app for Apple users, and Pinduoduo was still available to download from Apple’s iOS store Tuesday.

PDD Holdings Inc., which operates Pinduoduo, did not immediately comment. Hong Kong traded shares in the company tumbled 14.2% on Tuesday.