In a leaked staff letter issued by Didi chief executive Cheng Wei, it has been revealed that the company has lost as much as ￥4b net in the first half of 2018.
The Financial Times has confirmed the authenticity of the letter with someone close to the contents, allowing for a look into exactly what financial state the company finds itself.
In the first half of 2018, two young Chinese women were murdered by Didi drivers, after which the nation has reserved its chances at risking a ride with the APP, triggering a #deleteDidi campaign online.
Wei wrote that the company is “definitely not an evil company, and definitely not one focused on profits above all else”. Claiming the firm has not turned a profit since its inception 6 years ago. “We will invest our revenues in safety and the [user] experience”, he said.
With a driver shortage, the company faces “very low” profits, as a result of having to tap into its ￥12b reserve while it supports itself not only in China, but also in Brazil and Mexico.
After the latest death of a Didi passenger, the Chinese government instructed the company to implement strict safety precautions in order to better look after the public. Inspectors from China’s Ministry of Transport have been busy checking in on Chinese ride-hailing companies, beginning with Didi.
The company processes about 2.1 million calls a day, as well as 10,000 emergency calls for help, and screens more than 40,000 drivers a day who have failed to pass its qualification test, said Wei in his letter.
“We have to ask some hard questions: does Didi have core values, are we only a company that focuses on interests and ignores safety and social responsibilities”, Wei continued in the letter.
“The problem is within ourselves. Our desire for success caused us to forget our mission. The expansion frenzy planted seeds of trouble and our internal system couldn’t keep up with our expansion.”
After Didi successfully kicked its Western counterpart Uber out of China some years ago, it looked set for continued success as the largest ride hailing APP in the country. However, with two heavy blows which have come in the unfortunate form of rape and murder, the company’s future is dangling on a very fine string.