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Sport and Outdoors

Ride-sharing firms slammed for 'many problems' in China

China's transport ministry issues a new report listing nine major issues among local ride-hailing operators, including potential monopolistic behavior.

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Didi Chuxing is China's biggest ride-hailing operator and one of those inspected by the ministry.

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China's transport ministry has issued an initial report of the domestic ride-hailing market and it doesn't look good.

Authorities identified nine major problems found in the ride-hailing industry in a statement released Thursday. These include problems and risks related to safety and security, product compliance, an inefficient management of emergencies, operations management, credibility, protection of personal information and monopoly concerns.

The inspection began on Sept. 5 following an alleged rape-and-kill case in August that was the second of its kind in three months. Both cases involved Didi Chuxing, China's largest ride-hailing operator. 

Didi's chairman and president, Cheng Wei and Jean Liu, apologised in a public statement following the August incident. The company also suspended its Hitch service and temporarily stopped late-night hailing services from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. for a week.

While late-night hailing services have resumed since Sept. 15, there's a number of criteria drivers have to meet before they can serve these trips, including having completed 1,000 safe trips with a service record longer than six months.

Didi also added a series of new safety measures including safety education, an emergency call button and audio recordings of entire trips.

The report will be submitted for review and the inspection team will advise relevant departments to deal strictly with offenders that have flouted rules. The ministry also urged ride-hailing operators to improve and correct the problems identified in its statement. 

When asked about the report, a Didi representative told CNET in an email that the company "strongly supports and appreciates" the problems raised by the authorities, as well as the rectification requirements that have been put forth.

"Didi will implement the rectifications and continue to strengthen safety guarantee measures," the representative added.

First published Sept. 28, 2:49 a.m. PT.
Update, 9:38 a.m.: Adds comment from Didi.

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