Didi suspends UK launch plans amid China crackdown on tech firms

Didi Global is under a cyber-security review in China. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (REUTERS) - Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Global has suspended its plans to launch in Britain and continental Europe, The Telegraph reported on Monday (Aug 23), against the backdrop of a regulatory backlash at home over data privacy.

Staff working on the planned launches have been told that they face possible redundancy and Didi has stopped hiring in Britain, pulling the launch plans for at least a year, according to the report.

"We continue to explore additional new markets, liaising with relevant stakeholders in each and being thoughtful about when to introduce our services," a Didi spokesman said, without mentioning the British launch plans.

"As soon as we have any more news on additional new markets, we look forward to sharing."

Chinese companies have been caught in a pincer with increasing scrutiny from the United States on one side and a domestic regulatory crackdown on the country's massive Internet sector.

The move has rattled technology giants in the country and Didi is under a cyber-security review as China revamps its policy towards privacy and data security to ensure secure storage of user data.

Didi, which listed its shares in New York in June after raising US$4.4 billion (S$6 billion) in an initial public offering, is looking to expand its international business with recent launches in South Africa, Ecuador and Kazakhstan.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.