Mobike suspected of GDPR violations in industry-wide German investigation

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Chinese bike-rental company Mobike is under investigation by data regulators in Germany over suspicions it may have breached EU data laws, reports Tencent Tech.

The Berlin data protection commissioner aims to investigate whether the company and other car and bike-sharing firms have violated the region’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

“At the moment, we have not been notified by regulatory authorities, as we have strictly complied with GDPR and standards around Europe, so as to protect user data from being violated,” Mobike told TechNode, saying it would work to cooperate on any possible inquiries from relevant departments.

Since GDPR came into effect in May, non-compliant businesses can be fined up to €20 million ($ 22.74 million) or 4% of their total annual turnover.

Mobike’s service is so far available in 23 European cities, including London, Paris, and Milan. The company reached 48.1 million users, with roughly RMB 128 million ($18.5 million) of monthly revenue recorded as of April 2018, when it was acquired by Chinese tech giant Meituan Dianping.

In September, Bloomberg claimed the firm had previously inflated its numbers, only toning them down when its parent company filed for an IPO. Mobike responded by saying that the numbers in Meituan Dianping’s IPO prospectus are active users rather than registered users, resulting in a discrepancy between previously released data.

Chinese bike-rental companies have faced fierce competition over the past few years, with rival ofo coming off second best. The company retreated from international markets amid rumors of a cash crunch. It has also been embroiled in disputes with suppliers, who have taken the firm to court. Most recently, the company has been accused of refusing to refund deposits.