Ride-hailing giant Didi relaunched on Monday, 18 months after its app was shut down in China. The move comes at a time when China has been showing signs of easing a broad regulatory crackdown on its internet sector over the past three years.
In July 2021, Chinese authorities ordered the country’s app stores to remove Didi, citing that it “collects user data illegally.” Earlier that month, Didi went public in New York. It was a short-lived celebration for the company, which raised a hefty $4 billion from its initial sale, as the event soon proved to be the root of its conflict with Beijing.
According to multiple reports and investor memos seen by TechCrunch at the time, Didi failed to assure the government that cross-border data handling was secure before going public in the United States. She is subject to scrutiny. The failure led to her year-and-a-half-long security investigation by China’s top cyberspace her watchdog.
Didi’s period of repentance and rectification appears to be over, as the company posted on Weibo on Monday afternoon.
“We have taken serious steps to cooperate with national cybersecurity reviews, address security issues found in our investigations, and implement comprehensive remediation.”
With the approval of the Cyber Security Review Office, a relatively new body designated to address data security concerns raised by internet companies, Didi will immediately open new user registrations for leading ride-hailing platform Didi Chuxing. allowed to resume.
Aside from the data refresh, Didi was reportedly ordered to pay a $1 billion fine for rule violations. The company was delisted from the U.S. last May and is working to relist on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. The Hong Kong stock exchange has become an increasingly preferred choice for Chinese tech companies amid rising tensions between the United States and China.
Before user registration resumed, Didi users could continue to use the app if they already had it on their mobile phones. But the app was besieged by hungry rivals. For example, Alibaba-owned map service AutoNavi has positioned itself as an aggregator for third-party ride-hailing services, including Didi.
Gone are the days when the ride-hailing space grew freely. China has stepped up regulatory scrutiny of this new business in recent years, keeping pace with its traditional state-owned taxi industry.
Following the regulatory review, Didi will certainly be more cautious about government redlines.
“Going forward, the company will apply effective methods to ensure the security of the platform’s infrastructure and big data, and protect national cybersecurity,” said a Weibo post.