China has ordered app store operators to remove Didi’s app from their stores, at the latest as tensions between the country’s largest ride-hailing giant and local regulators escalate. The app has disappeared from several stores, including Apple’s App Store in China, TechCrunch can confirm.
The country’s cyberspace administration, which revealed the order on Sunday, said Didi was illegally collecting users’ personal information.
The ride-hailing giant, which has Apple, SoftBank, Tencent and Uber among its investors and filed for an IPO late last month, has been ordered to make changes to comply with Chinese data protection regulations.
The move comes after the Chinese internet watchdog announced earlier this week an investigation into Didi for “national security concerns”. Didi raised at least $ 4 billion on one of the largest US IPOs this week after debuting on the New York Stock Exchange.
In a statement, Didi said it had removed its app from various app stores and started “fixes”. It also said it stopped new user registrations on Saturday. The Didi app remains operational for existing users.
It is very rare for an app of this size to be pulled from the app stores. In the 12 months to March, Didi served 493 million active users per year and recorded 41 million transactions per day, as recently announced.
The app had 156 million monthly users in the first quarter, significantly more than Uber’s 98 million in the reporting period. China’s official data showed the country had 365 million ridesharing opportunities as of December, suggesting Didi has a significant market share.