China says probing Didi, Uber merger on anti-trust concern

A taxi driver is reflected in a side mirror as he uses the Didi Chuxing car-hailing application in Beijing, China, September 22, 2015. REUTERS/Jason Lee

China’s commerce ministry is investigating the planned acquisition by ride-hailing firm Didi Chuxing of U.S. rival Uber Technologies Inc’s China unit over anti-monopoly concerns, the ministry’s spokesman said on Friday.

Shen Danyang told reporters the Ministry of Commerce would look to protect fair market competition and consumer interests in the deal, which will create a roughly $35 billion giant dominating China’s car-hailing market.

A representative for Uber could not be reached immediately for comment. A Didispokeswoman said: “We are in communication with the authorities.”

It is unclear how the investigation could affect Didi‘s planned acquisition and subsequent integration of Uber’s China unit, already the top two players in the market. That had raised monopoly concerns as Didi claims an 87 percent market share.

After the deal was announced last month, the ministry unexpectedly said it had not received a necessary application filing to merge from the two firms.

Didi replied that the two companies did not need to file for approval to merge because they did not meet the financial threshold.

The Ministry of Commerce’s anti-monopoly office has already held talks twice with Didi, requesting clarification of the transaction and why the company had not applied for approval, as well as asking the firm to provide relevant documents and materials, Shen said on Friday.

The investigation is ongoing, said Shen, who did not say when it might conclude.

Reuters

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.