When Chinese regulators launched a crippling investigation into Didi Global immediately after its U.S. initial public offering last summer—blocking new downloads of its ride-hailing app—managers hoped the curbs would be lifted within a few months. Ten months later, Didi’s purgatory status hasn’t changed.
What once was one of China’s flagship tech companies is now withering from a thousand cuts: Regional and national rivals are eating into Didi’s once-unassailable monopoly over the market by offering liquor bottles and bags of rice as gifts to poach Didi drivers. Didi has laid off personnel across the company and, in a desperate attempt to reverse revenue declines, is trying new things, like rides for passengers who want to travel with pets.
“We really don’t know when this will end and how this will end,” said a Didi ride-hailing manager who oversees several cities in China.