Didi’s Regulatory Troubles Might Be Just Getting Started


In the papers that Didi submitted before its IPO, the Chinese greeting platform didn’t miss anything warnings to investors that regulators in Beijing are hovering.

After China’s internet regulator, antitrust watchdog and tax authority called him and for an April meeting with more than 30 internet companies, Didi said she was examining the company’s operations and “revealing a number of areas that could be considered problematic from a compliance standpoint.” Although government officials conducted on-the-spot investigations, Didi told investors she could not guarantee that she would avoid penalties.

These warnings barely implied sudden compression This interrupted Didi’s debut party.

Didi shares lost a fifth of their value on Tuesday and fell again in early trading in New York on Wednesday. The company was trading 16 percent below its value. IPO price one week in advance.

The decline stemmed from a series of swift actions by government agencies in Beijing, which senior policymakers announced this week aimed at strengthening government oversight. Chinese companies like this Didi, list your shares on overseas exchanges.

Just days after Didi’s IPO, China’s internet regulator told the company to stop registering new users so that it could conduct a cybersecurity review. Later, the agency ordered the removal of Didi’s app from mobile stores due to concerns about data collection.

Then on Wednesday, China’s antitrust authority slapped Didi and other tech companies, including Alibaba. modest fines for not notifying the agency of merger deals in advance. (Didi pointed to the possibility of such penalties in his IPO statements.)

one Didi The representative declined to comment. The company said it didn’t know about regulators’ cybersecurity review plans or the new download ban before it was made public.

But Jason Hsu, chief investment officer at Rayliant, an asset manager that invests in Chinese securities, said Chinese regulators often talk to companies about the regulatory actions they’re about to take.

“So it can be assumed that Didi was aware of a possible official investigation prior to its IPO,” Mr. Hsu said.

The listing of the company was completed at a dizzying pace. He filed the preliminary papers on June 10. Two weeks later, he announced the expected price range for the stock. Its shares were trading less than a week later.

Failure to disclose prior knowledge of market-moving regulatory decisions could make Didi and its IPOs — Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase — vulnerable to U.S. investor lawsuits and regulatory issues.

Bank representatives and the US Securities and Exchange Commission declined to comment. Didi is represented in the United States by Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and did not immediately comment.

But data protection and network security aren’t the only fronts Chinese authorities have surrounded Didi on. This means that the company, its investors and insurers may face even more unpleasant surprises.

China’s antitrust authority has been scrutinizing the country’s internet industry with unprecedented power in recent months, accusing corporate giants of abusing their size and market power. In April, Alibaba fined $2.8 billion, which is also traded in the US to discourage merchants in their own markets from selling on other online platforms.

At a more local level, Didi has battled with city authorities in China for years over business permits and licenses. The company acknowledged in its IPO filings that most of its drivers in China do not obtain the license they need to provide ride-hailing services. Beijing and Shanghaifor example, they require drivers driving to be local residents, but both cities make it very difficult for people to register as local residents to control population growth.

Didi said in its IPO documents that “a large number” of cars on its platform may not have the required vehicle permits. Vehicles used for online ride-hailing services in China must meet certain safety criteria in order to receive such permits.

It’s a very real possibility that other Chinese regulators will decide to take action against Didi, as top Chinese policymakers announced this week that they will seek to tighten regulation of overseas-listed Chinese companies. the government policy document In a statement released Tuesday, he said stronger capital market regulation should be combined with broader efforts to maintain national security and social stability, an indication of how seriously Beijing is currently taking such issues.

Wendy Ng, who studies Chinese competition law at the University of Melbourne, said different Chinese government agencies are often required to consult with each other in investigations involving large companies like Didi, even if they are not fully coordinated. Sometimes, other agencies may back down if they believe the case is weak or that their regulatory space has been violated.

“However, at least right now, in this environment where floodgates are opening to give regulators the green light to rein in digital platforms, then it seems far less likely that other regulators will resist,” he said. Professor Ng said.

Professor Ng said, for example, that if China’s internet regulator determines that Didi is failing to protect users’ data, this could feed into an investigation by the antitrust watchdog into whether the company is doing it to crack down on competitors.

“This is exactly what antitrust regulators around the world are talking about: whether breach of privacy will also be evidence of abuse of dominance,” he said.

The United States is trying to tighten its own rules for foreign companies listed on American stock exchanges. Washington lawmakers urging US regulators to have more power over Chinese companies are citing the mess in Didi to bolster their case.

“Even as stocks recover, American investors still have no idea of ​​the company’s financial strength, as the Chinese Communist Party has blocked US regulators from reviewing the books,” Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio told The New York Times. “This puts the investments of American retirees at risk and diverts desperately needed US dollars to Beijing.”

Mr Rubio and Pennsylvania Democratic Senator Bob Casey, introduced a bill In May, this would prevent Chinese companies from going public in the US unless they place themselves under the full jurisdiction of the American body that oversees the auditors.

Matthew Goldstein contributing reporting and Albee Zhang contributed to research.


Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *