China has just struck one of its largest targets under its new app privacy crackdown. Didi Chuxing’s ride-hailing app has reportedly been removed by China’s Cyberspace Administration from app stores, including Apple’s App Store and Huawei’s AppGallery, according to Bloomberg. Officials said that the app had allegedly committed several serious regulatory breaches through its collection and use of personal data. The announcement came just two days after DiDi began its IPO on the New York Stock Exchange.
Although the government didn’t explain any further, it had been undergoing a formal review of the app two days prior. If you have an account, DiDi’s app will still be functional if you have already downloaded it. DiDi released a statement on 3 July promising to adhere to Chinese regulations and put a temporary pause on new user registrations. At the time of writing, there’s still no word on when the app will return to app stores.
Despite the facade of protecting privacy, the Chinese government’s actions are an indication of China’s efforts to rein in its powerful domestic tech companies. As a quick recap, back in April, Alibaba was fined CNY 18.23 billion (~RM11.5 billion) for alleged monopolistic practices. There was already intense scrutiny over DiDi because of possible antitrust violations and security problems — but now it looks like China is gearing up to be more aggressive with companies that fail to comply.