March 26, 2011, 9:44 PM — NetQin Mobile on Friday denied reports that claimed it had deliberately installed viruses on customers' mobile phones along with its antivirus software and then charged customers to remove the malware.
NetQin's denial follows a written rebuttal in its initial public offering prospectus with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission dated March 15 that referred to a China State TV report of "uploading virus to imported mobile phones to promote our mobile security products by Beijing Feiliu," a company in which NetQin holds a 33% interest.
NetQin, a Beijing-based mobile security software maker, hosted a booth at International CTIA Wireless in Orlando this week, and announced its NetQin Mobile Anti-virus 4.0 Beta for BlackBerry on Tuesday.
Reports circulated on the Internet the following day citing the earlier Chinese State TV report describing the alleged malware scheme. Various Web sites, including Cellular-news.com reported that NetQin's customers would allegedly load the NetQin antivirus software, then get an alert informing them that they needed an update to fix the problem, for which they would be charged about 30 cents.
Cellular-news.com also said the Netqin software removed other antivirus software on the phones. Also, Cellular-news.com said China's three wireless network providers blocked sales of the NetQin software from their app stores.
NetQin issued a formal denial in a statement on Friday saying: "The allegations waged against us are entirely false," and encouraged any independent third party to evaluate and audit its products. "We are confident they will be found to be safe, secure and of high quality," the NetQin statement said.
In an e-mail, a publicist hired by NetQin, Sean Angus from Spark PR, said the allegations were surprising and were "set up by a competitor and are completely false."
In a telephone interview, NetQin spokeswoman Elena Lau, said NetQin's antivirus software had never been sold by the three China-based carriers in their app stores. She said that NetQin had no comment on whether a competitor fabricated the false stories.
"This is a non-event," Lau added, and said she could not comment beyond the statement because NetQin is in a silent period, since it has filed its IPO prospectus to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange.