China-based ridesharing technology platform DiDi will delist from the New York Stock Exchange and pursue a listing on the Hong Kong exchange, according to multiple reports and a press release from the company.
Without naming the new exchange, DiDi said existing shares “will be convertible into freely tradable shares” on another exchange, according to a press release late Thursday. The new exchange is in Hong Kong, a city which has lost a lot of independence from mainland China over the course of the past few years.
DiDi, which operates in Central America, Africa, the Asia Pacific, Russia, and China, was first listed on the New York Stock Exchange this past summer in a move that reportedly angered Communist Party officials in Beijing, according to Bloomberg News.
Didi is aiming to file for the Hong Kong listing around March, people with knowledge of the matter said, asking not to be identified as the plans haven’t been made public. Based on the normal process in Hong Kong, it could aim for a summer listing if everything goes smoothly. The company didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The unprecedented move underscores the depth of Beijing’s concern about the potential leakage of sensitive data to its geopolitical rival, as well as the extent to which the government will go to punish Didi for contravening its wishes.
Officials in Beijing were reportedly most concerned about DiDi’s independence and may not have received approval from the Chinese government before it was listed in New York.
The unusual delisting is just one of the latest tensions in the New Cold War, which has seen both China and the U.S. institute outright bans on various companies from doing business in their respective countries. The issue of “national security” is typically invoked, especially when technology is involved.
China’s Huawei was on the receiving end of American bans over the past five years, largely because the telecom company was expanding quickly around the globe. The U.S. banned Huawei equipment from America’s 5G rollout, following in the footsteps of other New Cold Warrior countries like Australia.