(Bloomberg) — Didi Global Inc. plunged in premarket trading after a Chinese regulator ordered the removal of the company’s platform from app stores, days after a $4.4 billion initial public offering in the U.S.
Shares of the China-based tech firm fell as much as 30% to $10.90, wiping out about $22 billion of market value and taking the stock below the $14 IPO price. They traded at $12.33 as of 5:07 a.m. in New York.
The Cyberspace Administration of China barred new users from Didi’s app, citing security risks and tightening its grip on sensitive online data. Beijing is in the process of a wider crackdown on the nation’s Big Tech firms designed to curb their growing influence. Didi, whose American Depository Receipts have only traded in New York since June 30, said the move may have an “adverse impact” on its revenue in China.
“The Chinese government’s tactics appear to have the twin purposes of keeping its corporate leaders in check while also making sure the investor pain lands primarily in the U.S. more so than China,” said Michael O’Rourke, chief market strategist at JonesTrading.
While its half-billion existing users will still be able to order rides for now, China’s cybersecurity crackdown adds to the uncertainty surrounding all of the nation’s internet companies. Tencent Holdings Ltd., which has a stake in Didi, is down 2.7% so far this week, after sliding 3.6% Monday and partially trimming losses on Tuesday. The onslaught of government announcements began on Friday after markets in Asia closed.
Chinese regulators asked Didi as early as three months ago to delay its landmark U.S. IPO because of national security concerns involving its huge trove of data, according to people familiar with the matter.
Uber Technologies Inc., the second-biggest Didi holder, fell 1.9% in premarket trading. The U.S. stock market was closed on Monday for a holiday.
Full Truck Alliance Co. and Kanzhun Ltd., both of which recently went public in the U.S., plummeted 14% and 10%, respectively, after China expanded its probe on the technology industry to include both firms. Beijing ordered them and Didi to halt new user registrations.
The number of companies based in China filing for New York IPOs has climbed for a third straight quarter despite weakness in other U.S. listed stocks that conduct most of their business in China and amid the broad antitrust probe into the nation’s internet firms. The Nasdaq Golden Dragon China Index is down about 8% for the year, lagging behind the 14% gain in the Nasdaq Composite Index.
“With Beijing now clearly seeking to make a political statement in the capital markets, it is unclear who, if anyone, will be there to invest in China’s next mega public offering in the U.S.,” said Charles-Henry Monchau, the chief financial and chief investment officer at FlowBank SA in Geneva. “The decision to crack down on Didi three days after the IPO looks very unfair to investors. It would have been better to prevent the company going public, as they did with Ant Group.”
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