China’s cybersecurity watchdog targeted 33 mobile apps for collecting data without user consent, giving the developers, which include Tencent, Baidu, iFlytek and Sogou, ten days to make the required changes to comply with privacy rules or face penalties.

The notifications cover 17 map navigation apps, 15 text-input apps and a single messaging app.

In a translated statement, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) said the crackdown on unauthorised data collection came after receiving complaints about apps gathering info not relevant to the services offered and users being forced to give consent.

On 1 May new CAC regulations went into effect detailing the scope of what personal information can be collected by apps.

Since November 2020, when authorities suspended the planned dual listing on the Shanghai and Hong Kong exchanges of Alibaba’s financial arm Ant Group, the country’s tech companies have been under increased scrutiny over privacy, security and market power concerns.