Redcore, a Beijing-based start-up that claims to have produced a homegrown web browser used by key government bodies and state-run companies, is besieged by complaints of false advertisement as users discover it uses parts of Google’s Chrome files.
Redcore Times (Beijing) Technology Ltd., which recently raised 250 million yuan (US$36 million) in funds, claimed that it has developed “core technology” with “independent intellectual property rights” in regards to its Internet browser. The company boasts technological innovation and advertised a web browser that can break the “monopoly” of U.S. software. However, just a day after the announcement on August 15 of the successful Series C financing, the company came under scrutiny for using Chrome’s software architecture as the basis of Redcore without properly citing the source.
On August 16th, users across Chinese social media spotted traces of Chrome in the installation directory of Redcore such as “chrome.exe” and image files of the Chrome logo. Netizens have also indicated that the version number 49.1.2623.213 shown on Redcore matched the one displayed on Google’s latest Chrome browser for Windows XP.
Redcore’s official website marketed and compared the program to Windows IE, Google Chrome, Apple Safari, and Mozilla Firefox, claiming it was an original design and could rival the giants.
Ben Chen, the founder of Redcore, admitted to the browser being built on the foundation of Chrome. The company has since issued a public apology on the Redcore website on August 17th, explaining that the advertisement campaign for Redcore may have been ‘over-exaggerated’.
According to the letter of apology, there was a certain degree of exaggeration in the recent publicity, which has misled the public. “We take full responsibility for this. We made a mistake and would like to sincerely apologize to everyone,” said the company in the letter.
Download links for Redcore has been taken down from the official website for the time being. Chen said the download links were removed due to the large volume of download requests, not because of the recent publicity scandal.