Chinese Uber rival Didi Chuxing has reportedly suspended plans to launch in the UK and Europe, as the ride-hailing company faces pressure from authorities in its home market.
The company’s plans to launch in the UK and Europe have been pushed back at least 12 months, and staff working on the launch have been told they face possible redundancy, the Daily Telegraph first reported.
The ongoing regulatory crackdown on Chinese tech companies by the country’s government has complicated Didi’s plans to launch in Europe, which has its own strict data protection regulations, according to a source cited by Nikkei Asia.
Didi had secured licences to operate in Manchester, Salford and Sheffield as part of its UK plans.
A Didi spokesperson said: “We continue to explore additional new markets, liaising with relevant stakeholders in each and being thoughtful about when to introduce our services. As soon as we have news on additional new markets, we look forward to sharing it.”
Didi has garnered billions of dollars in investment from companies including SoftBank and Tencent, and it raised $4.4bn (£3.2bn) in June in an initial public offering in New York. Its dominance in China is such that Uber withdrew in 2016 in exchange for a stake.
However, Beijing-based Didi has been caught in a broad regulatory crackdown in China. Regulators in its home market announced an investigation into the company’s data security in July, rapidly wiping a fifth from the value of US-listed shares.
Chinese regulators have given no indication of what to expect from the investigation, but some analysts have interpreted it as a signal that large Chinese tech companies must comply with the government’s wishes.
Didi already operates in countries including Japan, Australia and New Zealand. It also has a large presence in South America, including Brazil and Colombia, and it recently launched in South Africa, Ecuador and Kazakhstan.
Didi’s international jobs site is advertising for multiple roles in the US focused on autonomous driving software development, as well as several roles in Ukraine, a country in which it has not yet launched.