You may recall that, following the second murder of a Didi carpool passenger in four months, China’s transportation ministry promised industry-wide inspections.
The initial stage has concluded and results are now in, with inspectors finding nine major issues with the country’s ride-hailing and carpool service providers.
At a press conference held today, ministry spokesperson Wu Chungeng listed the following problems (available in Chinese here):
- hidden dangers for public safety
- hidden dangers in carpooling services
- weak systems for managing emergencies, with low efficacy
- illegal operations
- failure to take responsibility for safety
- lack of trust in business platforms
- personal information-related safety problems
- risk to social stability
- suspected industry monopoly
Together, the nine issues paint a picture of China’s ride-hailing industry in fairly broad strokes. They were gathered over the course of a government-led inspection that began on September 5. And although the last point seems aimed directly at industry giant Didi, the survey of ride-hailing companies was a comprehensive one, covering competitors Shouqi, UCAR, Caocao, Yidao Yongche, Meituan, Dida, and more, CCTV reported.
The resulting report was compiled from a combination of on-site inspection, data collection, inquiries, and analysis of the companies. The inspection team also put together initial suggestions on how to address the ride-hailing industry’s issues.
The next steps, Wu told reporters, will be to submit the report and direct relevant departments to act in order to eliminate “hidden dangers” in China’s carpooling and ride-hailing businesses.
The government initiative, while somewhat vague, may be welcomed by Chinese consumers, many of whom were left deeply uneasy after the murders of two Didi Hitch passengers. Didi responded to public sentiment earlier this month by enacting a series of safety upgrades across its services, including more background checks, a daily safety knowledge test for drivers, and an upgraded panic button for passengers.
It seems that even more changes may be coming up in the near future, however, impacting the industry as a whole.