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China orders Apple partner Didi to pull ride-hailing app from app stores

Apple CEO Tim Cook with Didi's Jean Liu in 2016.

The Cyberspace Administration of China has ordered the removal of Didi's ride-hailing app from the App Store alongside other digital storefronts, over claims Didi was illegally collecting personal data from users.

The order on Sunday by CAC said that the regulator had told Didi to update its services to comply with data protection rules in the country, though stopped short of stating what rules were violated.

Didi responded, saying had stopped registering new users, and it was in the process of taking down the app from app stores, reports Reuters. The company also said it would implement the changes to adhere to data protection rules, and to protect user's rights.

While the takedown from app stores will prevent the company from gaining more users, the app will continue to function normally on installed devices. On an average day, it helps facilitate over 20 million rides in China.

The order follows after CAC announced on Friday it was conducting an investigation into Didi to protect "national security and the public interest." On Wednesday, Didi debuted on the New York Stock Exchange, raising itself $4.4 billion in the IPO, but it was ultimately valued at $67.5 billion rather that the $100 billion expected by investors.

Apple invested $1 billion into the ride-sharing service in 2016. Along with ride-hailing, Didi has interests in self-driving vehicles, which aligns with the research and development at Apple for the so-called Apple Car.

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