Didi pulled from app stores in China over data violation
Chinese regulators ordered app stores to remove ride-hailing service Didi on Sunday, alleging the company had engaged in the illegal collection and use of personal data.
The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) issued the ban. In its notice of its actions the CAC wrote: “The DiDi Travel App has serious violations of laws and regulations in collecting and using personal information.”
The app was removed under the Network Security Law of the People’s Republic of China and the company was ordered to rectify the information security issues. Existing users can still use the app, but it is now unavailable for download from Chinese app stores. Operations outside of China remain as normal.
“The Company will strive to rectify any problems, improve its risk prevention awareness and technological capabilities, protect users' privacy and data security, and continue to provide secure and convenient services to its users. The Company expects that the app takedown may have an adverse impact on its revenue in China.” Didi responded to the removal.
Just last week, Didi Global, shares ended their first day of US trading slightly over their initial public offering (IPO) price, valuing the company at US$68.49 billion. It was the biggest listing in the US by a Chinese company since Alibaba's debut in 2014.
Control over data
The removal of the app comes at a time when Beijing is pursuing more control over tech companies and the way they collect and use data. In May this year, Tesla announced it would build a data centre in China to house all info generated by local owners, in accordance with legal requirements.
The same month, the CAC ordered 105 apps, including LinkedIn, Bing, Douyin, TikTok and Baidu, to stop improperly collecting and using people’s personal data.
In April, DiDi was among 13 tech companies Beijing required to participate in “supervision interviews” with a panel of regulators regarding its financial services business segment.
Today, the CAC expanded its probe, announcing that it also launched similar cybersecurity investigations into three other companies and asked them to stop registering new users.
First Solar to Invest US$684mn in Indian Energy Sector
First Solar is about to set up a new photovoltaic (PV) thin-film solar manufacturing facility in Tamil Nadu, India. The 3.3GW factory will create 1,000 skilled jobs and is expected to launch its operations in Q3 of 2023. According to the company, India needs 25+ gigawatts of solar energy to be deployed each year for the next nine years. This means that many of First Solar’s Indian clients will jump at the chance to have access to the company’s advanced PV.
Said Mark Widmar, First Solar’s CEO: ‘India is an attractive market for First Solar not simply because our module technology is advantageous in its hot, humid climate. It’s an inherently sustainable market, underpinned by a growing economy and appetite for energy’.
A Bit of Background
First Solar is a leading global provider of photovoltaic systems. It uses advanced technology to generate clear, reliable energy around the world. And even though it’s headquartered in the US, the company has invested in storage facilities around the world. It displaced energy requirements for a desalination plant in Australia, launched a source of reliable energy in the Middle East (Dubai, UAE), and deployed over 4.5GW of energy across Europe with its First Solar modules.
The company is also known for its solar innovation, reporting that it sees gains in efficiency three times faster than multi-crystalline silicon technology. First Solar holds world records in thin-film cell conversion efficiency (22.1%) and module conversion efficiency (18.2%). Finally, it helps its partners develop, finance, design, construct, and operate PV power plants—which is exactly what we’re talking about.
How Will The Tamil Nadu Plant Work?
Tamil Nadu will use the same manufacturing template as First Solar’s new Ohio factory. According to the Times of India, the factory will combine skilled workers, artificial intelligence, machine-to-machine communication, and IoT connectivity. In addition, its operations will adhere to First Solar’s Responsible Sourcing Solar Principles, produce modules with a 2.5x lower carbon footprint, and help India become energy-independent. Said Widmar: ‘Our advanced PV module will be made in India, for India’.
After all, we must mention that part of First Solar’s motivation in Tamil Nadu is to ensure that India doesn’t rely on Chinese solar. ‘India stands apart in the decisiveness of its response to China’s strategy of state-subsidised global dominance of the crystalline silicon supply chain’, Widmar explained. ‘That’s precisely the kind of level playing field needed for non-Chinese solar manufacturers to compete on their own merits’.
According to First Solar, India’s model should be a template for like-minded nations. Widmar added: ‘We’re pleased to support the sustainable energy ambitions of a major US ally in the Asia-Pacific region—with American-designed solar technology’. To sum up: Indian solar power is yet the next development in the China-US trade war. Let the PV manufacturing begin.