The president of Chinese ride hailing company DiDi Global, Jean Qing Liu, is no longer a billionaire after the company’s share price rapidly fell 27% Tuesday morning. The drop comes after Friday’s announcement that China’s cyberspace regulator was launching a probe into the company, citing data security risks. During the investigation, DiDi has been forbidden from signing up new users and its app was reportedly removed from app stores.
DiDi said in a July 4th press release that it will “strive to rectify any problems, improve its risk prevention awareness and technological capabilities, protect users’ privacy and data security, and continue to provide secure and convenient services to its users.” It also noted that it expects the takedown of the app to negatively impact its revenue in China.
The news of the probe comes just days after DiDi’s June 30th IPO on the New York Stock Exchange, which catapulted Liu’s net worth to an estimated $1.1 billion and CEO Will Wei Cheng’s net worth to an estimated $4.4 billion, according to Forbes. As of 11:00 am on Tuesday morning, Liu, who owns around 1.6% of DiDi’s stock, is now worth $920 million, and Cheng remains a billionaire, worth an estimated $3.8 billion thanks to his 6.5% stake
Liu cofounded the taxi hailing service with Cheng in 2012, after leaving her job as a managing director at Goldman Sachs. In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, she writes that the idea appealed to her because she had three children and was scared of being stranded somewhere in the rain or snow with no way home.
Now China’s largest mobile transportation platform, DiDi has over 493 million annual active users and powers 41 million average daily transactions, according to its SEC filing. However, the company has not been profitable in recent years. In 2020, it had $21.6 billion in revenue, but a net loss of $1.6 billion.
DiDi is not alone among tech companies targeted by the Cyberspace Administration of China. Full Truck Alliance, Co., and Kanzuhn Ltd. were also announced as the subject of probes this week. Both completed June 2021 IPOs on the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ respectively. DiDi Global did not respond to a request for comment for this story.