Didi Resumes New User Registration After Lengthy Review by Chinese Authorities

After over a year of being reviewed by Chinese regulators, online ride-hailing platform Didi officially announced on January 16 that it has resumed new user registration.

On July 2, 2021, Chinese authorities launched an online security review for Didi, during which time the platform was prohibited from registering new users. Immediately, 26 apps under Didi were removed from digital shelves. A couple of weeks later, seven governmental departments officially started their review of the company.

“Over the past year or so, our company has seriously cooperated with the national network security review, taken seriously the security problems found in the review, and carried out comprehensive rectification. With official approval, the registration of new users will be resumed from now on,” Didi said.

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Didi wrote in its first prospectus for the US stock market that its daily order volume exceeded 41 million, covering more than 4,000 cities across China. Some insiders have pointed out that these were the peak figures. During Didi’s temporary departure from the online ride-hailing market, many new players entered. AutoNavi, which only focuses on integrated platforms before, launched its own brand called “Rocket Travel.” T3 Go, Caocao Mobility and Meituan‘s car-hailing business continue to expand their markets. Douyin, backed by ByteDance, has opened up the qualification of ride-hailing service providers. Huawei has launched “Pedal Travel” to seize the precious opportunity brought about by Didi’s incident.

Looking back at the development of China’s ride-hailing industry, it began to enter a period of rapid development in 2017, and by 2019, the overall market transaction scale reached 346 billion yuan ($51 billion). However, the sudden outbreak of COVID-19 prevented this growth from continuing. According to statistics from the China Internet Network Information Center, this figure was only 311.4 billion yuan in 2020.

Although the transaction scale in Chinese ride-hailing market has recovered since the early pandemic period, overall growth rates have begun to slow down. In 2021, the transaction scale was 358.1 billion yuan, up 14.5% year-on-year. According to the latest data from China Chuxing, in 2022, the average daily order of online ride-hailing platforms in China was about 20 million, actually declining slightly compared with 2021.