Didi, Baidu lay off employees in anti-graft campaign

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(Image credit: Bigstock/Desperada)

China’s largest search engine Baidu and ride-hailing platform Didi have beefed up their anti-graft campaigns, dismissing more than 40 employees and reporting wrongdoings to the police.

Why it matters: Increasing numbers of Chinese tech firms have launched anti-corruption campaigns as they seek to mimic the Chinese state’s approach to misconduct.

  • Since 2013, Chinese president Xi Jinping has led an extensive crackdown on corruption that has targeted everyone from members of the government to corporate figures.
  • Apart from Didi, companies including lifestyle services giant Meituan, dronemaker DJI, e-commerce company JD, and used-car trading platform Guazi have sought to weed out graft from within their ranks.

“Any employee who violates the law will not be tolerated. Serious cases will be sent to the public security department.” —Baidu wrote in a leaked email last week. The company confirmed the authenticity of the email to TechNode on Monday.

Details: Baidu dismissed 14 employees that were allegedly involved in 12 cases of internal corruption, the company said in its email. Allegations include bribery and infringing on trade secrets, among others.

  • Meanwhile, Didi laid off 30 members of staff for their alleged involvement in bribery and collusion during the first half of 2019, according to a statement on popular messaging app WeChat.
  • In one case, a service consultant helped drivers that did not meet the company’s requirements register on the platform.
  • Employees from both Didi and Baidu fabricated expenses for reimbursements, the companies said.

Context: To encourage honest work, JD earlier this year went as far as sending employees on a prison tour in Beijing.

  • Didi employees were involved in 60 cases of corruption in 2018, the company said in January.
  • Drone maker DJI made headlines this year after it announced it was investigating 45 employees for graft. The company said it could lose as much as $150 million from cases of internal fraud.
  • Alibaba, Tencent, and Xiaomi have launched similar investigations.
  • Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei is also not immune. In 2017, the company’s executive vice president of its consumer business group in Greater China was investigated for accepting bribes.