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SoftBank-Backed Ride-Hailing Company Didi Beefs Up Europe Entry Plan

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Anusuya Lahiri
·2 min read
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  • SoftBank Group Corp (OTC: SFTBF) (OTC: SFTBY) backed China’s ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing Technology intends to roll out ride-sharing services in Western Europe, including the U.K, France, and Germany, ahead of its long-awaited initial public offering, Bloomberg reports.

  • Didi has set up a team for the European market and has started hiring locally.

  • Didi currently operates in 13 countries outside its home base, mostly in Latin America.

  • The company started offering car-hailing services in Russia in August, marking its debut in Europe. It is an investor in Uber Technologies Inc (NYSE: UBER) rival Bolt Technology OU. Other potential competitors include ride-sharing companies, including Lyft Inc (NASDAQ: LYFT), Sixt SE (OTC: SIXGF), Gett Inc, Ola, and BlaBlaCar.

  • Didi would be subjected to a rapidly changing regulatory landscape for tech companies and the gig economy in Europe. Recently the U.K.’s highest court ordered Uber to treat its drivers as “workers,” entitling them to vacation pay, rest breaks, and minimum wage.

  • European countries are also figuring out tax rules for tech platforms. Further, the continent has strict data privacy rules in the form of General Data Protection Regulation.

  • Didi is contemplating additional offerings, including food delivery and errand services, depending on local demand to boost its valuations.

  • Didi is also targeting the foreign markets following increased scrutiny by Chinese regulators on its tech giants. Xi Jinping’s government recently charged Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE: BABA) under anti-monopoly regulations last year and quashed its Ant IPO. The China Taxi Industry Association urged the antitrust regulator to investigate Didi’s takeover of Uber’s China business.

  • Price action: SFTBF shares are down 0.89% at $95.44 on the last check Wednesday. UBER shares are down 1.96% at $54.90.

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