This article examines the connection between Bondee and Zheli, a now-shut-down Chinese service, and the allegations of personal information infringement regarding Zheli. Bondee has not yet encountered any information infringement cases or operational security problems. We cannot draw a definitive conclusion about Bondee simply from a few speculations. This article does not raise suspicions about the Bondee service. Please keep this part in mind and read it.
Metadream, the company behind Bondee, was founded in Sep 2022. Bondee launched on January 7, 2023, with great quality. Bondee also topped multiple app store charts across Asia within a month. Such a Mega-hit for an early startup. They feel very prepared and well-established. Isn't it strange?
Indeed, based on the Singaporean regulatory files, one of the directors is Yang Yuxiang, a Chinese CEO who acquired True.ly in May 2022, the parent company of Zheli. Zheli (Jelly, or 这里, "here" in Chinese), a popular social app in China, looks identical to Bondee.
Zheli and its Privacy Issues
Zheli was the most popular app in China in 2022, primarily for Gen-Z. It even surpassed WeChat in downloads for a while, marking 1.9M downloads in less than a month after the initial launch in Jan 2022.
However, there were various claims of the following:
- Infringing Privacy. Users claimed that by sharing referrals through WeChat and QQ, Zheli logged unique identifiers of the users to track users. Users said they had received calls from strangers or spam messages after registering on the app
- Zheli's avatar designs were plagiarized.
A post questioning if Zheli plagiarized designs Source
Beijing Yidianshuo Entertainment Technology, the company behind Zheli, subsequently published a statement claiming these are false.
Zheli denies any data collection. 2022-02-11. (Screenshot)
The Zheli app was recently accused of using users' private information, such as their WeChat ID and QQ number, without authorization. This caused concern among users and spread on various platforms. However, after investigation, the claims were found to be false and were part of an organized and planned defamation effort by the app's competitors. Beijing Yidianshuo Entertainment Technology, the company behind the Zheli app, has complied with all relevant laws and regulations and did not use the private information in question. However, the company has collected evidence and reported the incident to the police, and reserved the right to take legal action.
However, its developers soon took down the app to "improve existing user experience," adding it faced "continuous and organized attacks," including the spread of "deliberate rumors and false information" online. They denied anything about data leaks or privacy concerns they were suffering.
Zheli shuts down. 2022-02-13. (Screenshot)
Zheli is a new app that has faced continuous and organized attacks, causing rumors to be spread and negative reviews to be posted on various platforms. The company has taken legal action to defend its reputation. However, the app also has technical issues, such as freezes, crashes, and delays, which still need to be resolved. To improve the user experience, the company has decided to remove the app from the app store for a large-scale system upgrade and focus on fixing existing problems. The company hopes to hear from users through their question and suggestion channels and their official Weibo account.
We also need some skepticism. Users claimed that their credit card was misused after signing up to Bondee
Metadream denied such accusations.
No personal information infringement cases or security-related incidents have been directly confirmed for Metadream and Bondee yet. It remains to be seen what kind of relationship Metadream has with the former Beijing Yidianshuo Entertainment Technology (whether it's a simple rebranding of Zheli or whether it just acquired the software and made full-fledged changes to its operating policies and policies). However, judging from Zheli and the stakeholders involved, caution is necessary when using Bondee.