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The Chinese internet regulator announced on Thursday that it would impose a fine of 8.03 billion yuan (nearly 1.2 billion euros) on Didi, the local ride-hailing giant, after a long investigation into the “Chinese Uber”.
In its press release, the China Cyberspace Administration justifies its decision with “compelling evidence” that the company has violated Chinese law, in particular with regard to internet security and the protection of personal data.
The amount of the fine represents more than 4% of Didi's annual turnover in 2021.
The digital giants have been under pressure since 2020 from the Chinese authorities, who are stepping up the blows against powerful internet companies over questions of competition and personal data.
The regulator accuses Didi of having illegally stored personal information of more than 57 million drivers in a format that is not sufficiently secure.
The VTC company is also condemned for having analyzed the data of passengers without their knowledge, including photos present in their mobile phones.
“Despite the fact that regulatory authorities have ordered rectifications (in Didi's practices), no general and in-depth corrections have been made,” the China Cyberspace Administration pointed out.
She says the violations of the law spanned a seven-year period from June 2015.
Despite the Beijing-Washington rivalry, Didi, who dominates the home market in car reservation, had maintained an IPO in the United States in June 2021.
Furious, the Chinese authorities immediately launched an administrative investigation against Didi, in connection with his collection of personal data.
The authorities then banned the download of the Didi application. People who already had it on their smartphone could, however, continue to use it.
Under pressure from Beijing, Didi had also had to announce in December 2021 its hasty withdrawal from the New York Stock Exchange after only five months of listing.