AnTuTu Benchmark removed from the Google Play Store

AnTuTu Benchmark removed from the Google Play Store

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Last month, Google removed nearly 600 apps from the Play Store for violating of in-app ad policies. Most of these were reportedly removed on the grounds of fraudulent and disruptive in-app advertisements. While Google refrained from naming the expelled apps specifically, infamous Chinese app publisher Cheetah Mobile seemingly got the ax – and this was not its first time. Weeks later, Google has now removed popular benchmarking apps from AnTuTu for their supposed connection with Cheetah Mobile. The apps removed from the Google Play Store include AnTuTu Benchmark, AnTuTu 3DBench, and AITuTu Benchmark.

The exact reason behind this expulsion is unclear but Android Police points out that AnTuTu’s association with Cheetah Mobile could be the culprit. In an archived version of AnTuTu’s Privacy Policy, Cheetah Mobile has been called the “data controller with regard to any personal information collected from users.” This Privacy Policy has been dated to October 10th, 2018, but the webpage was last cached as recently as on December 13th, 2019. As per the same document, “A “data controller” is an entity that determines the purposes for which and the manner in which any personal information is processed.

As of December 26th, 2019, the Privacy Policy was updated and Cheetah Mobile was replaced with “Antutu Technology Co.,Ltd.” In contrast, however, the Privacy Policy button in AnTuTu Benchmark’s Play Store (latest archived) listing still directs to a webpage on Cheetah Mobile’s website.

Confusing powerplay

Cheetah Mobile’s CEO, Fu Sheng, is also listed as the chairman and manager of the Antutu Technology Co., as per Tianyancha enterprise database (Chinese alternative to Crunchbase). To make things even more tortuously confusing, Cheetah Mobile – the supposed owner of AnTuTu – owes 54% of its stakes to Kingsoft Corporation, which has Lei Jun as its chairman. For those who may be unaware, Lei Jun is the co-founder of Chinese technology giant Xiaomi.

AnTuTu brushes it as a “misunderstanding”

After Android Police published the story, AnTuTu reached out to them, calling this a “misunderstanding” and explicitly claiming that it is not governed by Cheetah Mobile. On the contrary, Cheetah Mobile claims it is only one of the investors in AnTuTu but the latter still holds a “considerable account of shares” and therefore, the control of the company.

Here’s the full statement sent to Android Police:

We received a notification email from Google on March 7th informing us that AnTuTu was one of the related publisher accounts of Cheetah Mobile, all AnTuTu apps were removed from the Play Store. But in fact, We think there is some misunderstanding about it. Antutu is NOT the related account of Cheetah Mobile!!

AnTuTu was founded in 2011, even before Cheetah Mobile, and is one of the earliest Google Play developers. Cheetah Mobile invested in us in around 2014 and became one of our shareholders since then. However, we still retain a considerable account of shares and Independent operation of the company as well as our own independent Google Play account. Cheetah Mobile has never touched our Google Play account, and AnTuTu has NOT done any promotion of Cheetah Mobile’s software.

We believe that the reason for Google’s misjudgment is that we purchased and used the legal services from Cheetah Mobile, so our privacy policy link used the address of cmcm.com. This is what we are working on, including changing legal supplier. Regarding Fu Sheng being the chairman / manager of Beijing AnTuTu Technology Co., Ltd., this is because of the requirements of the investors. In fact, many Chinese companies have such requirements when investing. When the shares reach a certain percentage, investors will require changes in government registration documents. The company is actually operated by Beijing AnTuTu Technology Co., Ltd. Henan Branch. (https://www.tianyancha.com/company/3222572910), and Fu Sheng does not actually participate in the operation or the management of AnTuTu. Anyway, we have informed the investor Cheetah Mobile asking them to solve these problems caused by them.

We hope that Google can examine AnTuTu’s account carefully and finally resolve this misunderstanding as soon as possible.

We’re waiting for any further updates from Google and/or AnTuTu in this regard and will revise the article accordingly. In the meantime, you can choose from plenty of other benchmarking apps if you really need to or grab an APK from the official downloads page if you still wish to use AnTuTu or AITutu Benchmark apps.