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Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Didi delisting: Chinese firm says it will leave New York ‘immediately’ and list in Hong Kong following IPO

“After a careful study, the company will start delisting on the New York Stock Exchange immediately, and start preparations for listing in Hong Kong,” the Chinese ride-hailing firm wrote Friday on its verified account on Weibo, a popular Twitter-like platform in the country.

In a separate, English-language statement, the company said that its board of directors has authorized the company to file for delisting in New York, while ensuring that its shares “will be convertible into freely tradable shares of the company on another internationally recognized stock exchange.”

The board has granted permission for Didi to list its shares in Hong Kong, the statement added.

The announcement comes just five months after Didi launched its blockbuster, $4.4 billion IPO in the United States — a decision that turned into a fiasco for the company. Its share price collapsed as Beijing cracked down on the firm, saying shortly after the offering that it would ban Didi from app stores in China because it broke privacy laws and posed cybersecurity risks.

The company’s stock is now worth about half of its $14 IPO price, a loss of nearly $30 billion in market capitalization.

Beijing’s decision to target Didi was widely seen as punishment for its decision to go public overseas, and the company became a poster child of China’s efforts to rein in what the government sees as unruly Big Tech firms. In the weeks after the IPO, Chinese authorities proposed that companies with data on more than one million users seek approval before listing overseas.

There have also been recent signs that Didi would leave New York. Last week, Bloomberg reported, citing anonymous sources, that the Cyberspace Administration of China asked Didi’s top executives to work out a plan to do just that.

The pressure on Chinese firms that trade in the United States isn’t just from Beijing. Washington has also tightened the screws on companies from the world’s second largest economy. On Thursday, the US Securities and Exchange Commission finalized rules that would allow it to delist foreign firms that refuse to open their books to US regulators. China has for years rejected US audits of its firms, citing national security concerns.

The new rules could have widespread consequences for many Chinese companies that trade in the United States, including Alibaba (BABA), JD.com (JD) and Baidu (BIDU). All three of those companies already trade in Hong Kong, too.

Chinese tech firms were shaken by Friday’s news from Didi. E-commerce firm JD.com plunged more than 7%, while Alibaba lost 5%. Baidu was down 3.6%. Gaming and online music company NetEase, which also trades in New York, slid 8%.

CNN’s Beijing bureau contributed to this report.


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