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Didi apologizes for car fleet owner’s suicide attempt

Didi was accused of supporting companies with unqualified vehicles in the suicide note.

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Didi, China’s largest ride-hailing service provider, has apologized for a failed suicide attempt by a car fleet owner, who blamed Didi in his suicide note for banning his licensed company from the local ride-hailing business while allowing companies with unqualified vehicles to operate, local tech media outlet 36Kr reported.

Yan Baocai, the owner of a car leasing company in Shanxi Province, attempted to end his life last Thursday by taking pills at home. However, Yan’s life was saved after he was found by his family and sent to a nearby hospital.

According to Yan’s suicide note, the reason behind his suicide attempt was that his company’s operations were under great pressure as he lost most of his business after his cars were turned down by Didi. Many of his drivers quit due to a massive decrease in income.

Yan claimed in his suicide note that while many illegal cars have been running on Didi’s ride-hailing platform, the service provider did not allow his cars to operate on this dominant platform although his company had all the necessary certificates issued by local authorities. He also accused Didi of supporting unqualified vehicles by promising to cover the fines issued by governments. Yan hoped to raise social awareness towards Didi’s problems with his death.

Didi responded in an open letter on Monday by apologizing to Yan and his family, saying it wished to get in touch with Yan and help him solve his problem. The company said it will reflect on any irregularities in the management and regulation of vehicles operated on its platform, to protect the rights of its drivers and partners. The company also clarified that it had already stopped allowing rental cars to operate on the ride-hailing platform.

This is not the first time Didi has faced regulation problems. It previously failed to remove unqualified vehicles from its platform. The Shanghai Municipal Transportation Commission had issued fines and asked Didi to remove vehicles that did not meet city regulations, from its platform. The commission announced in August that 82% of its blacklisted vehicles are listed on Didi.

Didi was fined 100 times according to the commission, which added up to a total of RMB 10 million (USD 1.4 million) since early July 2019, but still persisted in coming up with new means to dodge regulations. For instance, Didi has in the past, helped car drivers register their cars outside of Shanghai and dispatched ride-hailing orders to them while they were in Shanghai to pick up passengers. This potentially risks public safety and security, as it hampers the ability to do background checks on these drivers.

36Kr is KrASIA’s parent company.