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Didi to resume app downloads and new user registrations as Beijing security probe nears completion: report

·3 min read

Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing, whose New York listing under the name Didi Global triggered a cybersecurity investigation nearly a year ago, will soon be cleared by regulators to resume normal business, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal on Monday.

The ban on Didi accepting new users may be lifted as early as this week, while its 26 apps that were removed from domestic app stores a week after the investigation began, are also likely to be reinstated at that time, according to the report, which cited people familiar with the discussion.

Didi did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday. The Cyberspace Administration of China, the country's powerful internet watchdog that leads the investigation, also did not immediately respond to a similar request.

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Following the WSJ report, Didi's shares in New York gained 50 per cent in premarket trading.

Similar restrictions on two other New York-listed internet firms, logistics platform Full Truck Alliance and recruitment site Boss Zhipin, known as Kanzhun on the capital market, will also be eased as early as this week, according to the report.

Didi shareholders last month agreed to "voluntarily" delist the firm from the New York Stock Exchange, a necessary step for the company to satisfy Beijing's demands and to resume normal business operations.

Didi said last Thursday it had submitted a delisting notification, which would take effect in about 10 days.

The company cannot file an application to list in another public market, such as Hong Kong, until Beijing approves the completion of its "rectification" measures, Didi said last month.

Founded in 2012 with seed funding of just 800,000 yuan (US$118,688), Didi has been described by company chief executive Cheng Wei as a "technology-driven company with advantages in user experience and data usage, rather than just relying on traffic and capital", according to his 2016 book Didi: Sharing Economy Changes China, which was co-written with other senior company executives. That year, Didi marked a big milestone by acquiring the China business of US-based rival Uber Technologies.

Didi's total ride orders reached 9.5 billion last year, which means the firm recorded more than 26 million rides each day, according to its latest financial disclosure.

China's regulatory crackdown, however, has weakened Didi's No 1 position in the world's biggest ride-hailing market.

The company's order volume fell 29 per cent between last June and March this year, according to a calculation of monthly growth rate figures published by China's Ministry of Transport.

Smaller rivals Cao Cao Mobility, incubated by carmaker Geely, and T3 Chuxing, which is backed by various state-owned companies, saw their orders grow 34 per cent and 104 per cent, respectively, in the same period.

This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the most authoritative voice reporting on China and Asia for more than a century. For more SCMP stories, please explore the SCMP app or visit the SCMP's Facebook and Twitter pages. Copyright © 2022 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

Copyright (c) 2022. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.