China bans Didi from app stores, accusing the e-hailing giant of illegally collecting personal data
- Chinese regulators' suspension of the Didi app comes days after the company's New York IPO.
- China's cyberspace agency accused the company of "serious violations" of in both collecting and using personal data.
- The company has said it would comply with the ban and make required changes.
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China on Sunday banned app stores from offering the Didi application, saying the ride-hailing company has been illegally collecting and using the personal data of users.
The move comes days after the company began trading on the New York Stock Exchange. China has increasingly clamped down on big tech over issues ranging from anti-competitive behavior to privacy and security. Last week, its cyberspace agency said it had launched an investigation into Didi to protect the safety of citizens and its national security.
The Cyberspace Administration of China said Sunday on its website that the investigation found the Didi app "has serious violations of laws and regulations" in both collecting and using personal information. App stores were notified to remove Didi and "strictly follow the legal requirements." The statement did not say what kind of information was allegedly being unlawfully collected or used.
Didi said in a statement posted on Weibo that it would comply and make necessary changes. Registration of new users has been suspended and the app "will be removed from the shelves for rectification in strict accordance with the requirements of the relevant departments," the statement said.
Users who have downloaded the Didi App can use it normally, and passengers' travel and driver's orders will not be affected, the statement said.
Didi is the second-largest ride-hailing app by market value in the world with a valuation of about $86 billion. Uber currently has a valuation of about $93 billion (R1.3 trillion), while Lyft trades at a $20 billion (R285 billion )valuation.
Shares of Didi soared as much as 28% in its IPO debut in New York on Wednesday. The company's debut was the second-largest among Chinese companies after e-commerce giant Alibaba's initial public offering in 2014.
Didi sports a number of high-profile investors, including Apple, which invested $1 billion (R14.2 billion) in the ride-hailing company in 2016. Meanwhile, the SoftBank Vision Fund holds a 21.5% stake in Didi, while Uber and Tencent own a 12.8% and 6.8% stake in the company, respectively, according to Bloomberg.