Chinese ride-hailing firm Didi is rumored to have lost of billions of yuan in 2018, as the company shifted focus from revenue growth to legal compliance, reports 36Kr (in Chinese).

According to an internal file obtained by 36Kr, the Chinese mobility giant recorded an annual loss of RMB 10.9 billion (roughly $1.48 billion) in 2018. It had also reportedly given to drivers subsidies totaling RMB 11.3 billion for the whole year.

Didi was not immediately available for comment when contacted by TechNode.

Previously, Chinese media reported in September that Didi founder and CEO Cheng Wei acknowledged its poor finance in an internal letter, saying Didi “never achieved profitability” since its founding 6 years ago.

Following the murders of two female passengers and a number of other safety incidents last year, China’s largest ride-hailing operator has been the subject of public outcry and government scrutiny. It has since removed non-compliant cars and drivers while also investing more money to recruit qualified drivers to offset the labor shortage.

Didi was once thought to be pursuing “a multibillion-dollar IPO” in the first half of 2018, Wall Street Journal reported April last year, citing an anonymous person close to the company. A company executive told Chinese media in October that “Didi now cares about nothing except security problems.”

Jill Shen is Shanghai-based technology reporter. She covers Chinese mobility, autonomous vehicles, and electric cars. Connect with her via e-mail: or Twitter: @yushan_shen

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