Warning: Chinese shopping app Temu ‘collects your data’
A new ultra-cheap Chinese shopping app taking Britain by storm could be illegally collecting data from phone users, a report claims.
Temu, pronounced tee-moo, offers shoppers products at discounted prices shipped directly from Chinese factories. It launched in the UK in April and has grown in popularity, becoming the most downloaded app on Google’s Play Store following similar success in the US.
Distinguished by its bright orange logo, Temu is believed to have more than nine million users in the UK who have been attracted by its ultra-low prices and free delivery.
Best-selling products on its website include touchscreen watches for £15.49 and water bottles for £2.48.
But alarm bells are ringing among analysts and observers of Chinese companies.
Concern: Temu, distinguished by its bright orange logo, is believed to have more than nine million users in the UK.
This month, financial analyst Siegfried Eggert, head of US firm Grizzly Research, published a report claiming that Temu was one of the “most dangerous” popular apps, claiming it contained “aggressive” programs designed to collect data.
Eggert also accused Temu’s owner, Chinese e-commerce giant PDD, of “intentionally” hiding software within the app.
“We believe Temu is the most dangerous application in wide circulation,” the report said.
The claims threaten Temu’s explosive expansion as the app embarked on a marketing blitz this year targeting younger shoppers on social media platforms.
It is not the first Chinese-owned retail app to attract foreign shoppers. Companies such as clothing group Shein and online sellers Alibaba and Wish have adopted similar models in the past.
But Temu’s expansion has prompted warnings from politicians about the possibility of Chinese apps accessing UK consumers’ personal data, which could potentially end up in the hands of fraudsters or intelligence agencies in Beijing and elsewhere.
Lord Alton of Liverpool, a colleague who has been banned from China, said the behavior of apps like Temu needed to be investigated “urgently”. “The Government and regulators must establish the risks to UK consumers of their data being collected and shared with the Chinese Communist Party regime under its National Intelligence Act,” he added.
PDD was headquartered in Shanghai until recently. Its founder and boss, Colin Huang, is one of the richest people in China, with an estimated net worth of around £27.5bn.
Temu was approached for comment last night.