Beijing has launched a crackdown on private drivers using cab-hailing apps, citing safety concerns. The ban is aimed at private citizens taking advantage of increasingly popular taxi hailing apps, including Alibaba-backed Kuaidi Dache and Tencent’s Didi Dache. While the apps are still available for licensed drivers, the announcement has effectively snuffed out private ride-sharing in China.

Authorities will be on the lookout for private drivers using the apps from this month, according to a statement on the Transport Ministry’s website on Tuesday. The statement confirmed that private luxury and “limousine” services would not be affected by the ban, describing them as an “innovative models.”

The services remain legal for licensed drivers and taxi companies, who have previously expressed widespread discontent at the off-market use of the apps by private drivers. It is possible this week’s statement – the first official announcement regarding their legal position – is a reaction to growing pressure from China’s taxi firms.

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Cate Cadell

Cate is a tech writer. She worked as a journalist in Australia, Mongolia and Myanmar. You can reach her (in Chinese or English) at: @catecadell or catecadell@technode.com