Technology

Alibaba behind popular Chinese Communist Party app: report

A popular Chinese app affiliated with the country's Communist Party was reportedly developed by Alibaba, the Chinese tech firm that has defended fellow Chinese company Huawei from scrutiny by U.S. officials.

Two Alibaba employees told Reuters that a small team at the company is responsible for developing and maintaining the app, which posts videos, quizzes, and news articles from government-friendly viewpoints.

The app is called "Xuexi Qiangguo," which translates to "Study to make China strong," according to Reuters, is run by a largely unknown special projects team at Alibaba, according to the employees, and is not publicly affiliated with the company.

It has been downloaded more than 43 million times since it was launched earlier this year, according to the news service.

Alibaba declined to comment on the app when contacted by Reuters, and the news service reports that it is unclear whether the company receives any revenue from the app.

News of the company's involvement with China's government comes as it has defended telecommunications giant Huawei from allegations by U.S. officials that its technology can be compromised by Chinese intelligence.

"I think what the American government and together with the Five Eyes Alliance - what they're trying to do with Huawei - is a bit unfair, there's definitely a political agenda behind it," Alibaba executive vice chairman Joe Tsai said in January, referring to the intelligence cooperation agreement between the U.S., Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

The Trump administration and Chinese officials have been negotiating for weeks over alleged unfair Chinese trade practices, and talks are scheduled to take place in Washington over the next few days following meetings in Beijing last week.

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