China fined Didi Global Inc. more than 8 billion yuan (US$1.2 billion; $1.65 billion), wrapping up a year-long probe into the ride-hailing giant that’s come to symbolize Beijing’s bruising campaign to rein in its powerful internet industry.
Regulators also fined Didi Chairman Cheng Wei and President Jean Liu 1 million yuan apiece, the Cyberspace Administration of China said in a statement. Didi was found to have violated three laws, and those illegal operations threatened national security, the internet overseer said.
The long-awaited decision on Didi -- which pushed ahead with a US$4.4 billion US initial public offering in June 2021 against Beijing’s wishes -- removes some of the uncertainty that at one point wiped more than 80% off its market value. The announcement signals that the worst may have passed for the company. It also reinforces expectations that Beijing is easing up on the massive tech sector just as its economy sags under the weight of Covid restrictions and global inflation. Didi’s main apps are now expected to reappear on China’s mobile stores, allowing the ride-hailing giant to again sign up new users and pursue growth.