Hitherto tolerant in terms of data protection, Beijing is tightening the screw. On Monday, the Chinese cybersecurity supervisory authority launched an investigation into potential “data security risks” against two Chinese digital companies listed in the United States. These are Full Truck Alliance (which has two freight hauling and truck booking applications – Yunmanman and Huochebang) and Kanzhun (owner of job search champion BOSS Zhipin) The latter no longer have the right to accept new users during this investigation.
Internet-related companies are particularly dynamic in China, where previously relatively lax legislation, particularly on data, and the absence of foreign competitors have allowed local giants to emerge. But Beijing has shown more firmness in the sector in recent months.
The “Chinese Uber” in the sights
Beijing already has in its sights the popular Didi application, a sort of “Chinese Uber”, whose withdrawal from online stores in the country was ordered on Sunday. The authorities referred to “a serious violation of the regulations regarding the collection of user data” of the VTC application, which is ultra-dominant in the country. The firm made its listing on the New York Stock Exchange last week and raised 4.4 billion dollars (3.7 billion euros) on this occasion.
Founded in 2012 by Cheng Wei, a former executive at Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, Didi is available in 15 countries, including China, Russia and Australia. It has dominated the Chinese chauffeur-driven market since it ousted its American rival Uber in 2016 after a ruthless price war. The app claims 493 million annual active users and 15 million annual active drivers.