Chinese regulators ordered app stores to remove ride-hailing service Didi on Sunday, alleging the company had engaged in the illegal collection and use of personal data.
The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) issued the ban. In its notice of its actions the CAC wrote: “The DiDi Travel App has serious violations of laws and regulations in collecting and using personal information.”
The app was removed under the Network Security Law of the People’s Republic of China and the company was ordered to rectify the information security issues. Existing users can still use the app, but it is now unavailable for download from Chinese app stores. Operations outside of China remain as normal.
“The Company will strive to rectify any problems, improve its risk prevention awareness and technological capabilities, protect users' privacy and data security, and continue to provide secure and convenient services to its users. The Company expects that the app takedown may have an adverse impact on its revenue in China.” Didi responded to the removal.
Just last week, Didi Global, shares ended their first day of US trading slightly over their initial public offering (IPO) price, valuing the company at US$68.49 billion. It was the biggest listing in the US by a Chinese company since Alibaba's debut in 2014.
Control over data
The removal of the app comes at a time when Beijing is pursuing more control over tech companies and the way they collect and use data. In May this year, Tesla announced it would build a data centre in China to house all info generated by local owners, in accordance with legal requirements.
The same month, the CAC ordered 105 apps, including LinkedIn, Bing, Douyin, TikTok and Baidu, to stop improperly collecting and using people’s personal data.
In April, DiDi was among 13 tech companies Beijing required to participate in “supervision interviews” with a panel of regulators regarding its financial services business segment.
Today, the CAC expanded its probe, announcing that it also launched similar cybersecurity investigations into three other companies and asked them to stop registering new users.