Didi: China’s ride-hailing giant scraps plans to launch in the United Kingdom

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Didi, the Chinese ride-hailing company, has postponed plans to expand in the United Kingdom and continental Europe, according to a source close to the firm.

Uber’s competitor had intended to launch services in Western Europe, including key British cities.

Didi is consulting with the project team about reassigning new jobs or eliminating potential redundancies.

The decision comes as Chinese companies face increased scrutiny from Western governments and Beijing tightens its grip on data protection.

“We continue to investigate additional new areas, consulting with key stakeholders in each and being deliberate about when to launch our services,” Didi said in a statement, referring to the news first reported by The Daily Telegraph.

Didi has been developing its worldwide operations and has recently established services in South Africa, Ecuador, and Kazakhstan, among other countries. 

Didi responded to inquiries regarding the team’s future in the UK by saying: “Recognizing the great quality of people in the market, we built an international talent hub in the United Kingdom. Aside from that, any personnel details are kept strictly private.” Didi’s decision comes at a time when Chinese corporations are increasingly being examined by governments in Western countries. 

Huawei was banned from the UK’s 5G infrastructure last year, and the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre is investigating its security procedures.

Huawei is another Chinese company that has been subjected to severe limitations in the United States.

Firms, including the enormously popular video-sharing app, were targeted by the Trump administration due to claims of ties to the Chinese government. While President Biden has toned down some of his criticism, Washington continues to put pressure on Chinese companies.

At the same time, Didi has come under fire in China, where the government is cracking down on data privacy.

The country’s internet authority ordered online merchants to stop selling its app earlier this year, claiming it illegally collected users’ personal data. The Chinese government is also implementing broader data privacy protection measures.

The country’s top legislative body, the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, enacted a new privacy law on Friday.

The Personal Information Protection Law, which goes into effect on November 1st, attempts to regulate data collecting by technological companies.

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