Didi's China ride-hailing app back on some app stores

The app logo of Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi is seen reflected on its navigation map displayed on a mobile phone in this illustration picture taken July 1, 2021. REUTERS/Florence Lo/Illustration/

BEIJING, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Didi Global's Chinese ride-hailing app returned to some Android app stores on Tuesday, according to Reuters checks and a source with direct knowledge of the matter, signalling its emergence from around 1-1/2 years of regulatory troubles.

Didi has been awaiting approval to resume new user registrations and downloads of its 25 banned apps in China as a key step to return to normal business since its regulatory problems started in mid-2021.

The ride-hailer, launched in Beijing in 2012 and backed by prominent investors including Alibaba (9988.HK), Tencent (0700.HK) and SoftBank Group (9984.T), ran afoul of the powerful Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) regulator when in 2021 it pressed ahead with a U.S. stock listing against the regulator's wishes, sources previously told Reuters.

Its 25 mobile apps were then ordered to be taken down from app stores, the registration of new users was suspended, and it was fined $1.2 billion over data-security breaches.

Didi said in a statement on Monday it had been given the green light from domestic regulators to resume new user registrations for its core ride-hailing app from Monday.

The move comes as Chinese policymakers seek to restore private sector confidence and count on the technology industry to help spur an economy ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reuters reported on Friday, citing sources, that Chinese authorities were set to allow Didi to resume new user registrations and downloads of its apps at home as soon as this week.

Reporting by Yingzhi Yang and Julie Zhu Editing by David Goodman and Mark Potter

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