Chinese authorities have ordered that ninety apps be removed from app stores after breaching new regulations about users’ data privacy.
On 23 April 2021, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) notified 93 app companies that they had violated users’ rights and interests. The companies were given five days to rectify their behaviour and abide by the new regulations.
However, authorities deemed 90 apps to have continued to conduct “irregular collection of information” and ordered domestic app stores to remove them. They have been taken offline indefinitely, although users with the apps already downloaded can continue to use them.
Among the targeted apps were the popular booking platform Damai, travel-focused Tuniu and Maimai, a job platform similar to LinkedIn. All three were accused of violating rules on multiple occasions. The crackdown marked another hit for Alibaba Group, which owns Damai, and has been the subject of increased scrutiny on China’s technology companies.
The move came two weeks after the implementation of a new regulation that defines how apps can collect users’ data and shows that authorities in Beijing are placing a stronger focus on how tech companies use data.