China ride-hailing giant Didi to lay off 15% staff this year

Beijing-based ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing will lay off 15% of its staff this year, or about 2,000 employees, a source familiar with the matter shared. It will continue to hire for safety technology, product engineering, and international expansion with the aim of maintaining its overall employee count, the source added. A Didi spokeswoman declined to comment.

In Hong Kong, it was reported that Co-founder Cheng Wei announced that Didi will eliminate about 15 percent of its workforce or about 2,000 jobs, in one of the biggest rounds of cutbacks in China’s tech sector. Cheng Wei announced the cuts during an internal meeting on Friday, where he said some businesses will be re-evaluated and cut back if needed, the people said, asking not to be identified talking about a private matter.  The company plans to hire workers in other areas during 2019, the people said.

After driving Uber Technologies Inc. out of China in 2016, Didi looked set to sweep all before it as it took control of China’s ride-hailing market and expanded into new services.  Since then it’s been hit by a regulatory and consumer backlash after two women passengers were allegedly murdered, prompting a shift in focus to safety over growth.

Despite the cutbacks, Didi intends to add 2,500 people to focus on areas from its international expansion to safety and product engineering, the people familiar said, citing Cheng’s comments. That means that by the end of 2019, it should have roughly the same Chinese headcount as in 2018 of 13,000 people.