Didi Chuxing, China’s ride-hail giant, continues its grim slog through the gauntlet of Beijing regulation.
The once high-flying stock, which debuted on the New York Stock Exchange last month with a blockbuster valuation of nearly $70 billion, has since been pummeled back down to earth under review from state authorities. Shares fell another 20% on Friday after Bloomberg reported that the Chinese government was weighing “serious, perhaps unprecedented, penalties” for the company. Sources familiar with the matter told the publication that those could include a hefty fine even greater than the record $2.8 billion paid by Alibaba Group this year. It could also install a state-owned investor or even force a delisting of the company, Bloomberg reported, adding that deliberations are at a preliminary stage.
Beijing regulatory bodies are currently managing two separate investigations into Didi: The first, led by the State Administration for Market Regulation, examines whether Didi is guilty of anti-competitive practices; and the second—launched by the Cyberspace Administration of China just two days after Didi’s IPO—questions whether the company jeopardized national data by introducing cybersecurity risks. During the latter probe, Didi has been blocked from registering any new users, contributing to a 43% drop in its stock in the past weeks.
The potential penalties are reportedly regarding the company forging ahead with its IPO despite state concerns over its data security.
Unfortunately for Didi, there doesn’t seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel yet. In the past year, China has intensified its grip on the country’s biggest companies and begun to muscle some of them under the wing of state purview; most notably, Jack Ma’s behemoth Ant Group was morphed into a financial holding company supervised by China’s central bank after the government thwarted its record-breaking IPO.
But if it’s any comfort to Didi, it’s certainly not China’s only target. Beijing authorities have recently taken aim at cryptocurrency miners and exchange platforms, and is reportedly considering a sweeping reform of the country’s $120 billion tutoring industry.
Fast Company has reached out to Didi for comment and will update if we hear back.