China Bans Ride-Hailing App Didi From App Stores Over Violations of User Data Collection and Usage

China Bans Ride-Hailing App Didi From App Stores Over Violations of User Data Collection and Usage
Photo: Greg Baker / AFP, Getty Images

China on Sunday ordered app stores to remove ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing from their listings, citing serious violations of laws around the collection and use of personal user data.

The announcement was made by the Cyberspace Administration of China, the country’s cyberspace regulator, which on Friday announced that it was conducting a cybersecurity review of the company and required it to stop registering new users. In the Sunday announcement, the regulator also ordered Didi to follow legal requirements and rectify existing problems to protect the security of users’ personal information, according to a Google translation of the statement on the government’s website.

Didi responded to the decision on its Weibo account, essentially China’s equivalent of Twitter, on Sunday and said it would work to rectify the issues identified by the regulator, according to a translation. It stated that users, including passengers and drivers, who had already downloaded the Didi app would be able to use it normally during this process.

“Didi resolutely implements the relevant requirements of the relevant state departments, and has suspended new user registration on July 3, and the Didi Travel App will be removed from the shelves for rectification in strict accordance with the requirements of the relevant departments,” the company said.

On Friday, in a statement to the Wall Street Journal, Didi said it would fully cooperate with the government’s cybersecurity review and would conduct a “comprehensive examination of cybersecurity risks.” It pledged to continuously improve its cybersecurity systems and technology capacities.

The Cyberspace Administration of China said its review of Didi aimed to prevent risks related to national data security.

Nonetheless, China may have other reasons for cracking down on Didi. Bloomberg reports that the country has been working to reign in the influence of its largest internet corporations. This involves focusing on the ownership and handling of the information that online companies, such as Alibaba and Tencent, collect from hundreds of millions of users on a daily basis.

The country’s examination and delisting of Didi comes days after the company went public at $US4.4 ($6) billion, the largest U.S. IPO for a Chinese company since Alibaba went public at $US25 ($32) billion in 2014.