China’s ride-hailing firm Didi to switch listing from New York to Hong Kong


The Chinese ride-hailing firm Didi is to move its listing from the New York stock exchange to Hong Kong, as Beijing cracks down on the country’s biggest technology companies.

The company said it would start “immediate” preparations to delist in New York and prepare to go public in Hong Kong.

“After a careful study, the company will start delisting on the New York stock exchange immediately, and start preparations for listing in Hong Kong,” the company posted on its Weibo account on Friday, a Twitter-like service in China.

It comes less than six months after Didi made its $4.4bn (£3.3bn) flotation in New York, making it the biggest listing by a Chinese company in the US since Alibaba in 2014, only to see investors sharply sell off shares days later as China’s internet regulator ordered its ride-hailing app to be taken off domestic app stores.

It was also banned from signing up new users, and subjected to a “cybersecurity review”, as Beijing flexed its muscle to curtail Didi’s international expansion plans. In August, Didi suspended plans to launch in Europe and the UK, where it had secured licences to operate in Manchester, Salford and Sheffield.

Didi, which is so dominant in its home market that Uber pulled out of China in 2016 in exchange for a stake, said its board had authorised the company to ensure its shares “will be convertible into freely tradeable shares of the company on another internationally recognised stock exchange”.

Didi’s delisting is the latest development in a long-running crackdown on the rising power of China’s tech companies by Beijing.

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Last year, regulators stepped in at the last minute to block the $34bn flotation of Jack Ma’s Ant Group, which would have been the biggest ever corporate fundraising.

In April, Ma’s Alibaba paid a record $2.8bn fine to settle an investigation by Chinese regulators into anticompetitive practices at the e-commerce company.

Authorities began to focus on businesses owned by Ma, one of China’s most popular, outspoken and wealthiest entrepreneurs, after he gave a blunt speech last year criticising national regulators, which reportedly infuriated the president, Xi Jinping.

The Guardian

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