The Chinese taxi service Didi Global may have to delist its listing in the United States. Chinese regulators have asked the company's board to make plans for this, insiders told Bloomberg news agency. According to experts, the request is unprecedented, quite shortly after Didi's IPO on the New York Stock Exchange in June. It is also a signal that China is taking further steps to gain more control over large tech companies, which Beijing believes have been given far too much power.
There would be several proposals on the table for Didi. For example, the company could be fully privatized or listed in Hong Kong. If one of those steps is taken, the New York listing will be discontinued thereafter. It is reported that the Cyberspace Administration of China, the body responsible for data security in the country, is concerned about the leakage of sensitive data by Didi because of the US listing.
With a privatization of Didi, there would be a proposal to get the shares for the price of the IPO in New York, it sounds like. Didi was listed there in June and a lower price would likely lead to many lawsuits from duped shareholders. In the event of a listing in Hong Kong, consideration would be given to discounting the current exchange rate, which is currently considerably lower than in June.
Didi did not want to comment on the reports and the Chinese regulator is not commenting either. At the time, Didi experienced the largest American IPO of a Chinese company since tech company Alibaba in 2014. The company is still largely owned by the management of co-founder Cheng Wei. Tech investor SoftBank and the American Uber Technologies have large minority interests.
Beijing has previously criticized Didi for opting for an IPO for the US, which was seen as a provocation by the authorities. In recent months there have been inspections at offices, threats of hefty fines and the decision to postpone the introduction to the Western European market.