Didi is out of the dog house in Beijing as Chinese regulators allow it to sign up new users

Secured by Didi Global Inc. the green light to continue signing up new users, suggesting that the worst is over for a ride-hailing giant. symbolism The wounding campaign in Beijing to control his powerful internet industry.

The widely anticipated decision is one of the clearest signs that Xi Jinping’s administration, which wants to restart an economy that has fallen under three years of Covid Zero restrictions, sees the need for private sector support in the broader campaign.

Beijing has also allowed Didi to bring in new users for the first time since regulators took the main apps from the stores in 2021, the company said in a statement on the official Weibo PAGE. That suggests that services will soon return to Apple and Android stores.

Didi, was once celebrated as a national driving champion Uber Technologies Inc. from China, one of the most high-profile companies at the center of a clampdown on the internet industry that Beijing began in 2020, when Ant Group Co.’s IPO was abruptly halted. Regulators clamped down on Didi’s business in 2021 after the company pursued a $4 billion-plus initial public offering in the US against Beijing’s wishes.

The relaunch of the apps is a necessity for Didi to continue business as usual, and eventually work towards listing its stock in Hong Kong. It also suggests that the government is serious ease of giants from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. to the Tencent Holdings Ltd., including approve the most significant crop of blockbuster titles since curbing gaming addiction.

“The relaunch of the Didi apps supports earlier indications from Beijing that needed reforms within the local technology sector are nearing completion,” said Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Catherine Lim. “Disruptions to the operations of technology giants such as Alibaba, Tencent should be minimal in 2023.”

It’s unclear when Didi’s apps will reappear for download. One possibility is that they may come out before the usually busy Lunar New Year celebrations, when ridership usually peaks.

The return of Didi’s apps will be a milestone in Beijing preparations to loosen its grip on the country’s giant internet sector. Guo Shuqing, secretary of the People’s party Bank of China, said that this month the regulatory overhaul is almost complete. That, combined with a post-Covid Zero reopening and easing of tensions in the US, led to a disruption of the price target UPGRADES across the sector.

Didi’s long-awaited virtual re-emergence will also remove some of the uncertainty that has eroded much of its value and forced it to trade in pink-sheet markets reserved for higher-risk investors. securities. Beijing fined the company more than 8 billion yuan ($1.2 billion) at the end of a year-long investigation into so-called serious national security violations.

The harshness with which regulators have clamped down on Didi — including forcing it to delist just months after its high-profile New York IPO — has spooked investors and underscored the extent to which Beijing is prepared to punish even the most famous companies. Didi itself has won the backing of tech giants including Tencent and Uber, and capital from several financial powerhouses from SoftBank Group corp. to Blackrock Inc.

It remains unclear under what conditions regulators will allow Didi’s work to continue on a new list. Didi’s case was filed with China’s Cyberspace Administration earlier and talks between the company and regulators have been smooth, according to people familiar with the matter, who requested anonymity to discuss a sensitive matter.

More than two dozen Didi apps, including those for riders and drivers, were suspended from download around July 2021, when the government accused the Beijing-based company of violating rules to protect personal information. . New user registration in China has been suspended since then.

“In the future, the company will take effective measures to guarantee the security of our platform infrastructure and big data, and maintain national cybersecurity,” Didi said in its statement.

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