App Stores Remove Ride-Hailing Giant Didi Chuxing

One of the world’s biggest ride-hailing services has had its app removed from the web by the Chinese authorities over privacy concerns.

Regulator the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) ordered the country’s app store providers to remove Didi Chuxing from their platforms over the weekend.

“After checks and verification, the Didi Chuxing app was found to be in serious violation of regulations in its collection and use of personal information,” the CAC reportedly said.

In response, the firm said it expected the move will have an adverse effect on its revenues, even though existing customers will still be able to use its app.

“Once the DiDi Chuxing app is taken down from app stores in China, the app can no longer be downloaded in China, although existing users who had previously downloaded and installed the app on their phones prior to the takedown may continue using it,” it noted.

“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 move could also affect Didi’s valuation on the New York Stock Exchange: the firm was valued at nearly $68.5 billion when it debuted there last week.

China’s answer to Uber is said to have around 550 million users across the country, as well as in Australia, Latin America and other Asian countries.

It bought Uber’s China business in 2016, with the US firm taking a minority stake in the company.

Introduced in 2017, China’s Cybersecurity Law was criticized at the time for giving the authorities more power to regulate data flows within the country, forcing providers to store data within the Great Firewall and enabling the authorities to perform vaguely defined “security checks” on companies.

However, it also contains several GDPR-like elementsincluding nominally more rights for data subjects, criminal sanctions for serious offenders and new data protection obligations for firms.

The difference is that laws in China tend to be more open to interpretation and arbitrarily enforced by the authorities, according to politically motivated decisions.

The crackdown on Didi Chuxing comes amid an apparent push by the Communist Party to cut down to size tech giants it sees as a potential challenge to its power.

The first of these to feel the wrath of the state was Alibaba, whose highly anticipated Ant Group IPO was derailed after the authorities demanded a restructure.

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