Publishers: China Youth Daily and China Youth Online

Date: June 26, 2019

Original link (in Chinese):

This translation is featured as part of the China India Networked (CIN) Newsletter, view past editions and sign up here:

The China India Networked (CIN) Newsletter is by me, Dev Lewis. I’m a Fellow at Digital Asia Hub and Yenching Scholar at Peking University, where i’m conducting research on the Social Credit System and data governance. Visit my website for more about my work.

Its been 10 months and Didi is still feeling the aftershocks.

On August 24, 2018, Ms. Zhao of Yueqing, Zhejiang Province, was killed as a passenger on Didi’s car hitching service. In May of that same year a Didi driver committed suicide after killing his female passenger.

These two cases lit a fuse, igniting a nationwide outcry and public enquiry into the company. Didi CEO Cheng Weihe and President Liu Qing publicly apologized: "Our ignorance has caused irreparable harm… our drive to compete overshadowed our compassion.”

Since then, Didi, a company with 550 million users, averaging 30 million rides per day, 10 billion rides in a year, has undergone a subtle change: decreasing its focus on miraculous “growth" towards improving the basic security of its services.

One executive said that when he joined the newly established Security Response Center (SRC) in September last year he randomly selected 10 security complaints and almost every case had 3-5 process errors. Today, 10 months later, this is no longer the case.

However, over the course of interviews over 20-days, journalists from China Youth Daily and China Youth Online discovered a company that is still in the midst of an internal interrogation with tough questioning.

One female college student was crying onboard a Didi complaining that the route was too slow and she was about to miss the high-speed train; one man was screaming on the phone "“ I have lost contact with my girlfriend…I want the contact of the driver immediately”, after he had received a "emergency alert “ text message sent from his girlfriend’s phone. Another foreigner was complaining anxiously (in English) late at night about a driver that returned his lost phone but his wallet was short RMB 500.

'Make up' classes are still on-going across the large and small meeting rooms in Didi company offices where its employees discuss and debate, facing numerous “extremely difficult, subjective questions", that they cannot find satisfactory answers to.

“These days, everything has changed.”

Didi is standing at a crossroads looking for opportunities to return back to calmer warmers (风平浪静)and avoid the tragedy of the two (aforementioned) cases.