China’s cyberspace administration said on Sunday that it had ordered smartphone appstores to stop offering the ride-hailing firm Didi Global Inc’s app after finding that Didi had illegally collected users’ personal data.
The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) said on its social media feed that it had ordered Didi to make changes to comply with Chinese data protection rules. It did not specify the nature of Didi’s violation.
Didi responded by saying it had stopped registering new users and would remove its app from app stores. It said it would make changes to comply with rules and protect users’ rights.
Didi’s app is still working in China for people who have downloaded it already. It offers over 20 million rides in China every day, on average.
Chinese regulators have tightened data collection rules for major tech firms in recent years.
CAC on Friday announced an investigation into Didi to protect “national security and the public interest”, two days after the firm began trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
Didi, which offers services in China and more than 15 other markets, gathers vast amounts of real-time mobility data everyday. It uses some of the data for autonomous driving technologies and traffic analysis.
Founded by Will Cheng in 2012, the company has already been subject to regulatory probes in China over safety and its operating licence.
Didi had set out relevant Chinese regulations in its IPO prospectus and said: “We follow strict procedures in collecting, transmitting, storing and using user data pursuant to our datasecurity and privacy policies.”