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China Sends Officials From 7 Agencies to Probe Didi Amid Cybersecurity Row
A Didi autonomous taxi takes a pilot test drive on the streets in Shanghai. Photo: AFP.
  • Cyberspace Administration of China, Ministry of Public Security lead probe
  • Swoop part of broader effort to rein in tech companies’ use of data

 

(AF) Didi Global’s offices have been placed under investigation by Chinese authorities amid a data row that saw it forced to remove its app from users’ devices.

Reports said officers from seven agencies had been dispatched to the ride-hailing giant’s offices to conduct on-sight inspections. The regulators probing Didi are the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of State Security, Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Natural Resources, State Taxation Administration and State Administration for Market Regulation, according to a CAC statement.

CAC did not offer more details in its statement, but the involvement of several government agencies shows the heavier regulatory pressure on the nine-year-old company.

Didi is under investigation after it was forced to remove its apps following its listing in the US earlier this month. Authorities accuse the company of illegal use of personal data.

Data Protection Law

China is in the process of revamping its policy towards privacy and data security. It is drafting a Personal Information Protection Law, which calls for tech platforms to impose stricter measures to ensure secure storage of user data.

In September, China is set to implement its Data Security Law, which requires companies that process “critical data” to conduct risk assessments and submit reports. It also calls on organisations that process data affecting China’s national security to submit to annual reviews.

CAC launched the data-related cybersecurity investigation into Didi just two days after it raised $4.4 billion from its New York initial public offering, citing the need to protect national security and the public interest. Regulators also ordered Didi to remove its apps in China which Didi said might hurt its revenue.

Didi, which currently has a market capitalisation of $60 billion, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on CAC’s new statement. It earlier said it stores all China user and road data in China.

This story was updated with additional details.

  • Reporting by Reuters

Mark McCord

Mark McCord is a financial journalist with more than three decades experience writing and editing at global news wires including Bloomberg and AFP, as well as daily newspapers in Hong Kong, Sydney and Melbourne. He has covered some of the biggest breaking news events in recent years including the Enron scandal, the New York terrorist attacks and the Iraq War. He is based in the UK. You can tweet to Mark at @MarkMcC64371550.

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