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China orders Didi ride hailing app pulled from stores over privacy issues

The popular app reportedly violated personal data collection rules.
A driver opens the Didi Chuxing ride-hailing app on his smartphone in Beijing on July 2, 2021. (Photo by Jade GAO / AFP) (Photo by JADE GAO/AFP via Getty Images)
JADE GAO via Getty Images
Jon Fingas
Jon Fingas|@jonfingas|July 4, 2021 11:34 AM

China's app privacy crackdown just struck one of its largest targets yet. Bloomberg reports that China's Cyberspace Administration has ordered the removal of Didi Chuxing's ride hailing app from mobile stores, including Apple's App Store and Huawei's AppGallery. The software allegedly committed serious regulatory breaches through its collection and use of personal data, officials said.

The government didn't explain the decision, which came just two days after a formal review began. Didi's app is still functional if you've already downloaded it and have an account— you just can't download a new copy.

Didi said it planned to fix the app to honor Chinese regulations, and had paused new user registrations as of July 3rd. It's not certain when sign-ups and the app will return.

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The move might help protect privacy, but it also reflects China's mounting attempts to rein in domestic tech giants. It recently fined Alibaba $2.8 billion for alleged monopolistic practices, for instance. Didi was already under scrutiny for possible antitrust violations and security issues — the order represents both an escalation of that scrutiny and a signal that China is ready to get tough if companies don't fall in line.

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China orders Didi ride hailing app pulled from stores over privacy issues