For those living in China, using ride-hailing apps Didi Chuxing and Uber has become a part of daily life. Which is why it might surprise some to hear they were illegal until a few days ago.

The services finally left the legal grey zone on Thursday, when a group of regulators announced new laws which will make ride-hailing legal under as of November 1st.

Until now, the services could’ve been shut down without notice, despite a fielding billions of dollars in investment, some from the Chinese government’s sovereign investment fund itself. While a blanket ban would’ve been unlikely, the government did use the legal distinction to periodically arrest drivers and stop the companies speaking at industry events.

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Cate Cadell

Cate is a tech writer. She worked as a journalist in Australia, Mongolia and Myanmar. You can reach her (in Chinese or English) at: @catecadell or catecadell@technode.com