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Why has DiDi not come to the UK yet?

Updated: Apr 8, 2023

DiDi is a Chinese ride-hailing giant that operates in more than 15 countries and regions, offering services such as DiDi Express, DiDi Taxi, DiDi Food and DiDi Delivery. The company has been expanding its international presence and has recently launched in South Africa, Ecuador and Kazakhstan. However, one market that DiDi has not entered yet is the UK, despite having plans to do so earlier this year.

According to a source close to the company, DiDi has halted its plans to launch in the UK and continental Europe due to the regulatory challenges it faces both in China and abroad. In summer 2021 the Cyberspace Administration of China ordered online stores to stop offering DiDi's app. China then fined the ride-hailing firm $1.18bn and handed penalties to its founders for breaches of the country’s data security laws.

DiDi faced increasing scrutiny from Western countries, including the UK and US, over concerns that users of the app could have their data passed to the Chinese Government due to its expansive national security laws. DiDi had secured licences to operate in Manchester, Salford and Sheffield as part of its UK plans, but decided to suspend its launch amid the uncertainty over its legal status and future prospects.

The decision to halt its expansion in Europe was seen as a setback for DiDi, which had hoped to compete with Uber and other rivals in the lucrative Western markets. However, it does not mean that DiDi has given up on its global ambitions.

The company said in a statement that it continues to explore additional new markets and liaise with relevant stakeholders. It also said that it has established an international talent hub in the UK, recognising the quality of people in the market.

It remains to be seen whether DiDi will resume its plans to launch in the UK and Europe once it resolves its issues with the Chinese regulators and adapts to the local data protection laws. For now, UK customers will have to wait for another option to order a ride or a food delivery from their smartphones.


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