'Secret to success is not monopoly,' China tells online platforms: state media

March 17, 2021 9:00 PM EDT

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SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Chinese internet platforms should protect the rights of consumers and avoid becoming monopolies, state media outlet China Daily wrote on Thursday.

In an editorial, the paper noted how two apps, UC Browser and 360 Search, were featured in an expose televised by state broadcaster CCTV that accused them of violating consumer rights.

Platform companies, the piece's unnamed author said, "must recognize that the secret to success is not monopoly, but perpetual innovation and long-term value creation."

"If the interests of consumers and platform businesses are not protected, platform enterprises themselves will suffer," the piece said.

China has stepped up scrutiny of its internet giants in recent months, citing concerns over monopolistic behaviour and potential infringement of consumer rights.

Following the television show, UC Browser issued an apology and said it had begun an investigation and taken corrective measures. Various app stores in China subsequently removed it from their listings.

UC Browser is backed by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, which itself is in the midst of an anti-monopoly probe from Chinese authorities.

(Reporting by Josh Horwitz; editing by Richard Pullin)

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