Google suspends China’s Pinduoduo app on security concerns

(Reuters) -Alphabet Inc’s Google suspended the Play version of PDD Holdings Inc’s Pinduoduo app for security concerns, after malware issues were found on versions of the Chinese e-commerce app outside Google’s app store, a company spokesperson said on Tuesday.

“Off-Play versions of this app that have been found to contain malware have been enforced on via Google Play Protect,” the spokesperson said in a statement, adding that the Play version of the app has been suspended for security concerns.

Google Play Protect scans Android devices with Google Play Services for potentially harmful apps and works to prevent the installation of malicious apps.

“Google Play has informed us this morning that Pinduoduo App has been temporarily suspended as the current version is not compliant with Google’s Policy, but has not shared more details,” a Pinduoduo spokesperson said in an email to Reuters.

There are several other apps that have been suspended by Google Play, Pinduoduo said, adding that there are multiple reasons an app is temporarily suspended. Google did not immediately respond to a query on the suspension of other apps on the Play store. 

PDD Holdings’ shares fell 1.8% in premarket trading on Tuesday.

The development comes amid efforts by the U.S. government to bolster its cyber defenses in the face of a steady increase in hacking and digital crimes targeting the country.

The government recently announced a new cybersecurity strategy that named China and Russia as the most prominent threats to the United States.

(Reporting by Baranjot Kaur and Abinaya Vijayaraghavan in Bengaluru; Editing by Dhanya Ann Thoppil)