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    Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi re-opens to new users after USD1.2B fine

    BEIJING (AFP) – Chinese ride-hailing company Didi accepted new users yesterday for the first time since 2021, after authorities fined the company for data security violations.

    Didi was one of the highest-profile targets of a sweeping crackdown on China’s tech sector launched in 2021, which wiped billions of dollars off the value of homegrown companies.

    Some companies were targetted over monopolistic behaviour, and others for cyber and national security concerns.

    Didi was forced by regulators to pull its app from online stores and stop registering new users in July 2021, when investigators found its user data collection to be in “serious violation” of regulations.

    The company was hit last year with a USD1.2 billion fine, after China’s cyberspace authority found “conclusive evidence” that Didi had committed violations including illegally storing drivers’ ID information in unsecured formats and covertly analysing passenger details.

    Didi yesterday said in a statement that it had “carried out comprehensive rectification” of its security issues.

    “The company will take effective measures to ensure the security of the platform’s functions and big data, and protect national cybersecurity,” Didi said.

    The announcement comes as China’s tech crackdown appears to be easing, with the country scrambling to boost economic growth battered by three years of hardline COVID curbs.

    Premier Li Keqiang last May urged support for tech companies to list both domestically and abroad. But the sector still faces strict scrutiny, with Hong Kong-listed Tencent yesterday saying it had dealt with “problems of corruption and fraud within the company” and had handed a number of employees over to police for investigation.

    A driver working for ride-sharing company Didi follows a map on his smartphone in Beijing, China. PHOTO: AFP
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