China Tech Shares Stabilize In U.S. After DiDi Probe Triggers Bloodbath

Shares of Chinese tech companies listed in the U.S. began to stabilize in aftermarket trading this evening after a Beijing cybersecurity probe triggered losses that wiped out tens of billions of dollars of wealth on Tuesday. 

Money-losing ride-sharing app DiDi Global, which had just gone public last week, led the way with a 19% plunge that knocked the company below its IPO price and its president Jean Liu out of the ranks of the world’s billionaires. Shares were down 0.9% in aftermarket trading. Among the two other businesses in regulators’ sights – Full Truck Alliance lost 6.7% in daytime trade, and then another 3.7% this evening at 7:40pm, but online job site Kanzhun recovered 0.3% after losing 16% during the day.

Investors unsure about Beijing’s cybersecurity policies on data, anti-monopoly policy for big tech, and mainland politics in general sold tech shares as a group rather than wait it out.  E-commerce giants JD.com lost 5% to $72.39, and Alibaba, which was penalized in an anti-monopoly probe earlier this year, lost 2.8%. Both stabilized or recovered slightly in aftermarket trading, however, as did search engine Baidu, which lost 5% of its value earlier in the day.

Perhaps the most astonishing part of events involved a report by the Wall Street Journal that China authorities weeks before DiDi went public “suggested the Chinese ride-hailing giant delay its initial public offering and urged it to conduct a thorough self-examination of its network security, according to people with knowledge of the matter.”

“But for Didi, waiting would be problematic. In the absence of an outright order to halt the IPO, it went ahead,” the newspaper said.

Much of what passes for discussion about China in D.C. is hot air, but the DiDi listing is worthy of investigation.  Underwriters included Goldman, J.P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley.

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