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Didi gets approval from China to relaunch after 18 months of security research • TechCrunch

Eighteen months after the app was suspended in China, ride giant Didi made a comeback on Monday. The move came as China showed signs of easing sweeping regulatory measures against the internet sector over the past three years.

In July 2021, Chinese authorities ordered the country’s app stores to take down Didi, citing reasons that the platform was “illegally collecting user data”. Earlier that same month, Didi went public in New York. It was a short-lived celebration for the company, which raised a whopping $4 billion from its first sale, as the event quickly turned out to be the cause of the clash with Beijing.

According to multiple reports and an investor memo TechCrunch saw at the time, Didi failed to assure the government that its cross-border data practices were secure before they were made public in the US, where the data of hundreds of millions of Chinese citizens is reportedly under scrutiny. The misstep sparked a year-and-a-half-long security investigation by China’s top cyberspace watchdog.

It seems Didi’s period of repentance and rectification is over, as a company Posted on Weibo Monday afternoon:

“Our company has taken serious steps to cooperate with the country’s cybersecurity assessment, to address the security vulnerabilities found in the investigation, and to make extensive rectifications.”

With the approval of the Cybersecurity Review Office, a relatively new body designated to address data security concerns of internet companies, Didi was allowed to resume new user registration for Didi Chuxing, the premier ride-hailing platform, effective immediately.

Aside from a data overhaul, Didi was also reportedly ordered to pay a $1 billion fine for breaking rules. It completed its delisting from the US last May and has been working to relist on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, a choice increasingly favored by Chinese tech companies coping with rising tensions between the US and China. must offer.

Prior to the user registration relaunch, Didi users could still use the app if they already had it on their phone. But the app was besieged by hungry rivals. For example, the mapping service AutoNavi, owned by Alibaba, is gaining ground as an aggregator of third-party ride-hailing services, including Didi.

The era of rampant growth in the ride-hailing space is also long gone. China has tightened regulatory oversight of the new sector in recent years, bringing it more into line with the traditional state-owned taxi industry.

After the regulatory review, Didi will certainly be much more careful about the government’s red line.

“In the future, the company will adopt effective methods to ensure the security of the platform infrastructure and big data to ensure national cybersecurity,” it said in the Weibo post.

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