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Otautahi – The Didi ride-hailing service has been pulled from app stores in China after the country’s Cyberspace regulator claimed it had illegally collected users’ personal data.

China’s cyberspace regulator has ordered smartphone app stores to pull Didi Global Inc’s app after it alleged the ride-hailing company had illegally collected users’ personal data.

Ride giant DiDi launched in Auckland late  last year, taking on Uber and Ola.

DiDi’s express service is seeking to will undercut existing rideshare services by about 10 per cent, as well as passenger promotions.

It provides about 10 billion passenger trips around the world per year with more than 550 million users globally. On November 2 last year, New Zealand joined Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Japan, Mexico, Panama, Peru and Russia.

Didi recorded the highest number of global trips on the platform in a single day last August: more than 50 million.

The company launched in Australia nearly three years ago and, while a Roy Morgan survey in last year rated DiDi as third in the rideshare market, it has reportedly since overtaken Ola to be in second place behind Uber.

The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) has said told Didi to make changes to comply with data protection rules, four days after its initial public offering (IPO) in New York, which raised $US4.4 billion – the biggest Chinese overseas IPO in the first half of the year.

Some experts say the move against Didi is part of a continuing crackdown by the Chinese authorities on what was once a loosely regulated technology sector.

It follows government actions in recent months aimed at the online marketplace Alibaba, and social networks Tencent and Bytedance, the parent company of TikTok.

The government has been ramping up its efforts to safeguard the nation’s data security and cybersecurity.

Beijing said it had launched the investigation into Didi in order to “safeguard national data security, maintain national security and protect public interest”.

CAC also announced plans to investigate the truck-hailing service Full Truck Alliance over data security issues. The company raised $US1.6 billion in New York last month and has a market valuation of more than $US20 billion.

Didi’s app was still working in China for people who had already downloaded it. The ride-hailing service – with more than 377 million active users and 13 million drivers across China.