Is Opera browser owned by China?
Who owns Opera? Let’s resume the Opera browser history, and see if it’s owned by a Chinese company today.
Yes, the Opera web browser is now owned by different group and most of them are Chinese groups. But, this has not been always the case, the Opera browser was developed in Norway.
Since when the Opera browser is owned by China?
The Opera browser was developed Jon Stephenson von Tetzchner and Geir Ivarsøy, two Norwegian developers. They began the development in their previous company, but the project was abandoned, they decided to create the Opera Software company to continue the development on their own.
The first version of the Opera browser, the 2.10 version for Windows, was publicly released in 1996.
Bought by a Chinese consortium in 2016
In 2016, Opera sold most of itself to a Chinese consortium, for $600 million. The Chinese companies, led by the security company Qihoo 360, bought the privacy and performance apps, the tech licenses, and the brand name Opera. Qihoo 360 is known in China for its mobile and desktop antivirus software and mobile apps.
What has been bought by the Chinese’s companies ?
The Chinese companies did not buy all of Opera, they tried to, but that attempt was blocked by anti-trusting agencies. So Opera has been split into two parts before the deal, one covering consumer business and the browser development, and the second one the rest: only the first one has been sold.
The Opera Apps & Games and Opera TV has not been sold in this deal and is still owned by the Norwegian. But, as the Chinese bought the brand name the Norwegian company had to rename itself, the company is now named Otello Corporation.
With Opera now owned by the Chinese, a lot of people are wondering if the Opera browser can still be trusted.
Is Opera a Chinese spyware ?
There is no evidence that Opera is becoming Chinese spyware.
Even if Opera is now owned by a Chinese company, its headquarters are still in Oslo in Norway. It means that the Opera browser has to follow Norway's laws and the European ones.
So even if they are collecting user data as almost every other web browser does, they can’t do whatever they want or whatever the China laws authorize doing. It does not seem more harmful than what Google Chrome does, the only difference is that the user data are now owned by Chinese.
Should you switch to another web browser ?
If you are still using Opera and you don’t have any issues with it, you do not have to switch to another web browser. There is no security reason to do that, no news that tells something changed. There are even many reasons to use Opera
But they are not better than Google Chrome regarding privacy and user data protection, if you care about it, you should look at Mozilla Firefox or Safari if you are on Apple devices.