Chinese ride hailing giant Didi’s shareholders have voted to delist the company from the NYSE. The decision is a long-expected result of the company finding itself in hot water with the Chinese government after a rushed and later troubled public-market debut in the United States.
Didi went public in the middle of 2021 in an offering that came together quickly. After listing in June, by early July, TechCrunch was already flagging issues between the newly floated company and the Chinese government.
Putatively irked over data concerns, the Chinese Communist Party was executing a regulatory push at the time, making Didi’s foreign IPO all the less palatable. Quickly after the listing, Didi had to stop accepting new user registrations, among other regulatory penalties.
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The company’s subsequent suffering was absorbed by its new investors post-IPO. After listing at $14 per share and trading as high as $18.01, per Yahoo Finance data, Didi’s shares bottomed out recently at $1.37. Today, the company is worth $1.56 per share, up 4% on the news of its impending delisting.
Per filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (condensed):
[Didi] today announced that the following resolution, which had been submitted for shareholder approval, has been approved at the extraordinary general meeting of the Company’s shareholders held in Beijing today: as an ordinary resolution, to list the Company’s American Depositary Shares from the New York Stock Exchange as soon as practicable, and that in order to better cooperate with the cybersecurity review and rectification measures, the Company’s shares will not be listed on any other stock exchange before the Delisting is completed.
The company is expected to list in Hong Kong after it lists from US markets, though when that could occur is not clear.
What’s remarkable, or perhaps ironic, about the timing of the Didi delisting is that it seems to have caught the worst on both ends. Recall that the scuppered Ant IPO of late 2020 was the unofficial kickoff of a regulatory crackdown by the Chinese Communist Party on its domestic technology market. A wave of changes was announced, from video game restrictions to the abolition of the for-profit edtech market and more.
But after years of punishment, the Chinese tech market is shedding staff and value as its ruling government seeks to smooth the waters somewhat. More simply, Didi went public in the United States quickly after its government began clamping down on the company and its peers and is now delisting just as the Chinese government is seeking to change its tune about its tech economy.
Vice Premier Liu He made noise just last week about “signs of easing [China’s] crackdown on the technology sector which has wiped billions of dollars of value from its most prominent companies,” as CNBC put it. Those came too late for Didi. How will other companies fare?