China’s cyberspace regulators target more US-listed platforms

A number of Chinese platforms are being subjected to cybersecurity reviews following the removal of ride-hailing service Didi from app stores earlier this week.

The Cyberspace Administration of China will launch investigations into truck hailing apps Huochebang 货车帮 and Yunmanman 运满满, and recruiter Boss Zhipin 直聘. The two latter companies and the parent organisation of Huochebang, Manbang Group, went public in the US stock market in June. Regulators have said that all three businesses should pause new user registrations during the investigations.

On 2 July, the Cyberspace Administration of China announced that it was investigating Didi due to alleged “national data security risks”. Two days later, China’s internet regulator announced that Didi had seriously violated data privacy laws and was removed from app stores in China. On 7 July, WeChat and Alipay removed Didi’s Mini-Programs from their platforms, and the app was taken off Didi’s official website. 

The regulator’s moves followed Didi’s low-key listing on the New York Stock Exchange on 1 July. There has been much speculation about why Didi was removed from the app store: one reason may be the company’s decision to list in the US, rather than in the mainland or Hong Kong.

The tightening regulations are likely to lead to more Chinese companies reconsidering where they choose to list. Fitness app Keep has already decided to withdraw its IPO on the New York Stock Exchange in the aftermath of this week’s events.

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