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SoftBank hit by report that China may force Didi to quit Wall Street

<i>Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images</i><br/>SoftBank hit by a report that China may force Didi to quit Wall Street. A woman here walks past a SoftBank mobile shop in Tokyo on November 8.
AFP via Getty Images
Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images
SoftBank hit by a report that China may force Didi to quit Wall Street. A woman here walks past a SoftBank mobile shop in Tokyo on November 8.

By Laura He, CNN Business

Shares of SoftBank plunged about 5% in Tokyo on Friday after Chinese regulators reportedly asked Didi to delist from the United States because of concerns about data security.

The Japanese company’s Vision Fund is a major shareholder in the Chinese ride-hailing service with a stake of over 20%.

SoftBank shares opened lower on Friday as Asian markets were slammed by fears of a new coronavirus variant that appears to be spreading rapidly in parts of South Africa.

But the losses accelerated after Bloomberg reported, citing anonymous sources, that the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) has asked Didi’s top executives to work out a plan to delist the company from the New York Stock Exchange.

Didi, SoftBank and the CAC didn’t immediately respond to CNN Business’ requests for comments on the report.

The country’s tech watchdog has asked Didi’s management to delist the company from the United States over ” concerns about leakage of sensitive data,” the Bloomberg report said.

“Proposals under consideration include a straight-up privatization or a share float in Hong Kong followed by a delisting from the US,” the report added.

But deliberations are still under way and “it’s possible regulators will backtrack on their request,” it said.

In July, Chinese regulators probed Didi over cybersecurity concerns and removed it from app stores in the country, just days after Didi’s blockbuster US IPO. The CAC accused Didi of illegally collecting and handling personal information.

The tough action against Didi is part of Beijing’s sweeping regulatory crackdown on the country’s private enterprise, in particular tech companies.

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