Didi App Nears Relaunch In China – Report

Chinese ride-hailing firm Didi Global could be nearing a return to the market after a notable crackdown by domestic regulators in China.

Didi Global is preparing to relaunch of its ride-hailing and other apps in China by the end of the year in anticipation that Beijing’s cybersecurity investigation into the company will be wrapped up by then, three people directly involved in the relaunch told Reuters.

Didi has been the subject of a number of government probes and restrictions since it launched an initial public offering on the NYSE in June, over the objections of the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), the country’s internet regulator.

App takedown

Shortly after the Didi went against the wishes of the Chinese regulator, the powerful Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) ordered app stores to remove 25 mobile apps operated by Didi.

It also told the company to stop registering new users, citing national security and the public interest.

The actions were part of a broader wave of internet regulation in China that has seen it crack down on everything from Bitcoin mining to children’s online gaming.

Alibaba Group for example was made to pay a record $2.8bn fine and to institute structural changes following an antitrust probe, but the final measures against Didi could be more extensive.

Didi’s IPO was the second-largest offering in the US by a Chinese company, after that of Alibaba in 2014.

In September this year it was reported that Chinese state-run companies could take control of Didi Global under a reported proposal by the city government of Beijing.

Didi return?

Reuters reported that its sources, who declined to be identified as the information was private, said they expected China’s cyberspace regulator to finalise any penalties against Didi in December.

The company has set aside 10 billion yuan ($1.6 billion) for a potential fine, said one of the sources.

Asked by Reuters about its preparations to relaunch the apps and the amount set aside for a potential fine, Didi said the information obtained by Reuters was “pure hearsay with no grounds in fact” and that it was cooperating actively and fully with the cybersecurity review.

It did not provide any further information.

The CAC meanwhile did not respond to a request for comment.

Didi shares on the New York Stock Exchange rose more than 3 percent to $9.22 in early trading on Thursday following the Reuters report.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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