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EXCLUSIVE-China to allow Didi apps back online, in latest sign of regulatory thaw-sources

Chinese authorities are set to allow Didi Global’s ride-hailing and other apps back on domestic app stores as soon as next week, five sources told Reuters, in yet anothe signal that their two-year regulatory crackdown on the technology sector is ending.

January 13, 2023
13 January 2023

By Julie Zhu, Kevin Huang and Xu Jing
Jan 13 (Reuters) – Chinese authorities are set to allow Didi
Global’s ride-hailing and other apps back on domestic app stores
as soon as next week, five sources told Reuters, in yet another
signal that their two-year regulatory crackdown on the
technology sector is ending.

Didi has been awaiting authorities’ approval to resume new
user registrations and downloads of its 25 banned apps in China
as a key step to resume normal business since its regulatory
troubles started in mid-2021.

The lifting of the new user ban and app resumption for its
flagship ride-hailing services and other business could take
place before the Lunar New Year which begins on Jan. 22, said
four of the sources.

The one-week-long holiday period in China would help Didi
start to attract new clients for the business and work towards
bringing it back to normal, added two of the sources.

A lifting of the ban on Didi apps would come as Chinese
policymakers seek to restore private sector confidence and count
on the technology industry to help spur economic activity that
has been ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A restoration of apps would also signal Didi’s completion of
its nearly two-year long regulatory-driven revamp, and will come
after the powerful cyber watchdog Cyberspace Administration of
China (CAC) imposed in July a $1.2 billion fine on the company.

Didi did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for
comment.

CAC and the State Council Information Office, which handles
media queries for the government, did not immediately respond to
Reuters requests for comment.
(Reporting by Julie Zhu, Kevin Huang and Xu Jing; Editing by
Sumeet Chatterjee and Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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