Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi suspends UK launch plans

August 24, 2021 6:14 am

Didi, the ride-hailing giant, has suspended its plans to launch in Britain and continental Europe, The Telegraph reported on Monday.

Details: According to the report, the employees responsible for the planned launch were told that they may face layoffs, and Didi has stopped hiring in the UK and has postponed the launch plans for at least one year.

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

Previously in Feb., Bloomberg reported that Didi was considering rolling out ride-sharing services in markets that could include the UK, France, and Germany by the first half of this year. It has already set up a team dedicated to the European market and is hiring locally.

Outside mainland China, Didi now operates in 13 countries, mostly in Latin America. In last August, it began offering car-hailing services in Russia, marking its first direct foray into Europe, and it’s already an investor in Estonia-based Bolt Technology OU, the continent’s main rival to Uber. 

Context: Citing data security concerns, Didi is being reviewed by seven government departments. Soon after its $4.4 billion New York IPO on June 30, Chinese regulators ordered all 25 of the company's apps to be removed from the app store and suspended new user registrations. 

The gig work model is facing scrutiny in Europe. The British Supreme Court ruled that Uber must treat its drivers as "workers", entitling them to vacation pay, rest breaks, and minimum wage while using the app.

European countries are also working on taxes aimed at tech platforms, and the continent imposes strict data privacy rules in the shape of the General Data Protection Regulation.