China Tells Apple to Remove Ride-Hailing App Didi Chuxing From App Store for Data Violations

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Apple has been informed by China’s cyberspace regulator that it must remove the Didi Chuxing ride hailing app from the Chinese App Store following concerns about the Uber rival’s possible misuse of personal data.

Tim Cook Beijing Didi Chuxing

Apple CEO Tim Cook with Didi Chuxing president Jean Liu in 2016

The app in question is owned by Didi Global, which Apple has $1 billion invested in. Bloomberg reports that the ban was announced on Sunday by the Cyberspace Administration of China, citing serious violations on the company’s collection and usage of personal information, without going into detail.

The regulator on Sunday ordered Didi to rectify its problems following legal requirements and national standards, and take steps to protect the personal information of its users.

The decision means that Apple and other app store operators on other platforms will have to remove the Didi Chuxing from their listings. The “unusually swift” decision is said to have come just two days after the regulator said it was conducting a cybersecurity review of Didi Global Inc.

The ban was effective immediately, but users who downloaded the app before Sunday are still able to order rides and other services. Didi said it had already halted new user registrations as of July 3 and was now working to rectify its app in accordance with regulatory requirements.

Apple in 2016 invested $1 billion in the Chinese ride-hailing company. The move was described by CEO ‌Tim Cook‌ at the time as a “strategic investment” that would help Apple better understand the Chinese market. Following its investment, Apple was given a Didi Chuxing board seat.

It’s unclear what impact the ban could have on Apple’s stake in Didi, but the decision follows broader moves by Beijing to curb the influence of China’s largest internet corporations and tighten the ownership of the personal data of hundreds of millions of users held by the likes of Alibaba, Tencent, and others.

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