Chinese startup's 'self-made' web browser built on Google Chrome

Redcore, the Beijing-based startup that claimed to develop the web browser based upon its own core technology, apologised after its software was found using notable parts of Google's Chrome.
Written by Cyrus Lee, Contributor

A Chinese technology startup that claimed its internet browser software was developed with independent intellectual property rights was found to have utilised substantial code from Google Chrome.

Redcore's web browser, which was widely utilised by government, state-owned enterprises, as well as large-sized companies in China, was found containing Chrome files in its installation directory by social media users.

Last Thursday, an internet user in China unzipped the Redcore browser's installation package and found a Chrome file with a version number of 49.1.2623.213 -- the last version of Google Chrome that supports Windows XP.

On Friday, Redcore apologised through its WeChat account, admitting it made a certain degree of exaggeration during its recent financing marketing activities that could have misled the public. The apology contrasts to the browser's marketing as a purely Chinese piece of technology that has "broken the American monopoly", according Chinese media reports last week.

Redcore browser engine is based on the globally-accepted open-source Chromium kernel architecture, but the information was not explicitly mentioned in the marketing, misleading some consumers to believe it was developed by the company from scratch, the statement added.

"We have an inescapable responsibility for this. What we did is wrong, and we would like to apologise to you solemnly," said Redcore, according to a NetEase report.

"We should have paid more attention to specific functions and customer value in the marketing, instead of placing special emphasis on its features of 'home-made' and 'autonomy'," it said, stressing that it's a technology company that serves large and medium-sized enterprises.

The Chinese company, which announced Wednesday last week that it raised 250 million yuan from its latest fundraising activity, had magnified the importance of its web browser by saying it was launched on the backdrop of the trade tensions between the US and China, which will require the latter to depend less on foreign technology.

Redcore, which initially compared its product to Microsoft's Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Apple's Safari, and Firefox on its website, has swiftly removed downloads of its web browsers after the incident.

But the company also claims that it has made progress on three aspects of its browser: helping enterprises avoid external attacks through an invisible technology; facilitating enterprises to migrate from PC terminals to mobile platforms; and helping enterprises strengthen data and privacy protection, according to its statement.


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