China’s government has found more than two dozen mapping and text applications to be in violation of data privacy regulations, in an expansion of the nation’s crackdown on the technology and internet industry. Thirty-three applications operated by two dozen companies from Alibaba Group Holding to Tencent Holdings were listed in a notice by the Cyberspace Administration of China on Saturday, mostly for collecting data that was not relevant to their services. The companies were given 10 days to rectify their unauthorised data collection, or face financial penalties, the regulator said. The app operators were divided into three categories of abuses. The first group comprised 15 text-input apps for search, translation and other interfaces that required switching between alphabets and the pinyin system of Chinese phonetics, including those provided by Sogou, the speech intelligence company iFlytek and Baidu. The second group consisted of 17 map and navigation applications, including those provided by Alibaba’s AutoNavi, Baidu , Tencent and China’s home-grown satellite navigation system BeiDou . The third category involved a closely held company called Zhejiang Jianxin Technology, which used its Lianxin social-networking app to distribute unauthorised sales and marketing messages. The latest notice was published on the same day that new data collection regulations by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) came into effect. The MIIT regulations, first announced in March, hold application providers accountable for collecting what the regulator calls “excessive” user data unrelated to their core services, and forcing users to give uninformed consent to how their data is used. China’s government has been cracking down on the country’s largest technology companies since late 2020, involving a litany of regulators from antitrust to the central bank looking into various aspects of the industry’s business practices. Alibaba , the world’s largest e-commerce platform and owner of this newspaper, was fined a record 18.2 billion yuan (US$2.8 billion) on April 10 by the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) for breaching antitrust regulations. China’s antitrust scrutiny under the anti-monopoly law had evolved from an initial focus 12 years ago on the pharmaceutical industry and municipal water utilities to the market dominance by technology companies, according to research by South China Morning Post . The redlined behaviour that authorities are focused on include forcing merchants to pick one platform, abusing dominant market position, making hostile bids to acquire top players in specific market segments, misusing big data to charge unfair pricing to certain clients, turning a blind eye to inferior-quality products, leaking customer data and evading tax payments. Tencent and a number of other internet companies including the dominant ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing were also slapped with financial penalties for breaching anti-monopoly rules in their mergers and acquisitions. The crackdowns on app data collection and efforts to increase user privacy protection had been under way for years, with hundreds of apps, including those from major tech players, finding themselves under scrutiny. China has put two draft laws regulating the country’s vast troves of data through a second hearing this week, including the Data Security Law and the Personal Data Protection Law (PIPL), the country’s first set of rules to safeguard personal data.