China transport ministry summons freight-delivery platforms, warns Didi, other ride-hailing firms
By Yifan Wang
China's Ministry of Transport has summoned four leading freight-delivery platform operators and warned four internet ride-hailing companies over recent driver complaints, in a sign of Beijing's continued scrutiny of the country's massive tech sector after a year-long crackdown.
The ministry on Friday said it has summoned four internet freight delivery firms, including the cargo businesses owned by DiDi Global Inc. (DIDI) and 58.com Inc ., to discuss recent driver complaints about arbitrary pricing rules, membership fee increases, unfair competition and illegal practices such as overloading.
The ministry said it has also warned four ride-hailing platforms run by companies including DiDi Global and Meituan about driver protection, fair competition and transportation safety.
The companies didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.
The regulator's move followed several earlier tightening measures targeting the ride-hailing and cargo-delivery market, including rules to cap commission rates and strengthen driver welfare.
Friday's warning was likely intended to remind the companies of these new regulations and authorities' continued close oversight of the sector, said UOB Kay Hian analyst Chun Sung Oong.
"This is a sign that Beijing's tech crackdown is far from over," he said.
The ministry also told companies to fulfill their social responsibilities and ensure smooth operations during the Lunar New Year holidays, a peak season for passenger traffic and travel demand in China.
The companies said they will rectify existing problems and conduct systematic reviews of their operations to safeguard driver rights and ensure regulatory compliance, according to the ministry.
Shares of Meituan, the only stock trading at the time of the ministry's statement, erased earlier gains and edged down. The stock was last down 0.7% at HK$236.40.
Write to Yifan Wang at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
January 21, 2022 01:30 ET (06:30 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2022 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.