Didi shares tank 7% after Chinese regulators visit the ride-hailing giant for cybersecurity review

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The app of Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi is seen on a mobile phone in front of the company logo displayed in this illustration picture taken July 1, 2021.

Florence Lo | Reuters

GUANGZHOU, China — Shares of Didi plunged more than 7% in U.S. pre-market trade on Friday after officials from seven Chinese government departments visited the ride-hailing giant’s offices to conduct a cybersecurity review.

This month, days after its high-profile listing in the U.S., China’s top cyberspace regulator announced a cybersecurity review of Didi.

The ride-hailing giant was forced to stop signing up new users and its app was also removed from Chinese app stores.

The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) alleged that Didi had illegally collected users’ data.

The CAC as well as the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR), the leading antitrust regulator, were among the seven departments that visited Didi for the network security review.

Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal reported that regulators suggested Didi delay its initial public offering in the U.S. and conduct a self-examination of its network security. Regulators feared that Didi’s massive stash of data would fall into U.S. hands due to Washington’s auditing requirements, the WSJ reported.

Regulators are now stepping up their cybersecurity efforts with new rules. Last week, the CAC said that any companies with the personal information of over 1 million users must report for a cybersecurity review before going public abroad.

It is part of Beijing’s broader efforts to boost privacy and data protection laws in the world’s second-largest economy.

Didi is the latest target of China’s crackdown on its once-freewheeling technology sector.

Last year, regulators pulled what would have been the record-breaking IPO of Alibaba fintech affiliate Ant Group. And authorities slapped Alibaba with a $2.8 billion fine earlier this year as part of an anti-monopoly probe.

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