On Wednesday, the ride-hailing giant’s mini program did not appear in searches by new users within WeChat, a super app run by Tencent Holdings, and Alipay, owned by Ant Group, an affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding. However, those who had previously accessed the mini app could still find and use it.
Didi Chuxing has also disappeared from WeChat’s payment page for third-party services for some users. It remains unclear how many users are affected, but the removal could negatively affect Didi’s revenue given that it was a widely used entry point to the service.
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Didi has not disclosed the revenue breakdown from the two super apps but said earlier that the ban on new user registrations will negatively impact revenues.
Mini programs are lightweight apps that do not need to be downloaded and can be run inside other apps. In China, this means that companies have almost immediate access to the 1.2 billion users on WeChat and the 1 billion on Alipay.
Tencent, Ant Group and Didi did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Both Tencent and Alibaba are Didi shareholders with Martin Lau, president of Tencent, and Daniel Zhang, CEO of Alibaba, sitting on the Beijing-based company’s board of directors.
According to Didi’s prospectus, Tencent had a 6.8 per cent equity stake in Didi before the IPO. Alibaba’s stake was not disclosed as the Hangzhou-based e-commerce giant is not a principal shareholder.
Alibaba owns the South China Morning Post.
Didi shares plunged 20 per cent in New York on Tuesday, after falling more than 5 per cent in the previous trading day in response to Beijing’s probe and punishment.
The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) announced on Sunday that Didi will be taken off the country’s app stores until future approval after correction and review, saying the app has seriously violated laws and regulations through improper collection and usage of user information.
The punishment comes after the cyberspace security review office, an obscure unit of the powerful administration, announced a review into Didi on Friday, saying it had stopped Didi from registering new users, which was announced the same week of Didi’s IPO on the New York Stock Exchange.
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