Business

Didi Chuxing suspends Hitch after passenger death

Didi Image copyright Reuters

The death of a 21-year-old woman after taking a ride with Didi Chuxing has sparked a social media backlash and forced China's equivalent of Uber to suspend its car-pool service.

The 21-year-old flight attendant died on 6 May in Zhengzhou.

She had ordered a ride using Didi's Hitch service, which pairs up commuters heading in the same direction.

Police said they were searching for a 27-year-old male suspected of the killing.

The case has gone viral on Chinese social media and was the top-trending item on Weibo - China's equivalent of Twitter - on Friday.

One report suggested the suspect had stolen his father's Hitch account and its facial recognition security system had not been triggered.

The company has apologised and said it would thoroughly review drivers "to exclude any cases involving mismatch of drivers and vehicles".

Image copyright Reuters

Hitch, one of 13 services offered on Didi's platforms, "will be suspended nationwide for a week of rectification" from Saturday.

It was the second known death involving the Hitch service.

Didi Chuxing claims to be the world's top transportation platform, with 21 million drivers and more than 450 million users.

After a fierce battle against Didi, Uber sold its operations in China in 2016 in return for a stake in Didi's business.

Its investors include Apple and Japan's SoftBank.

In response to the death, the Communist Party mouthpiece the People's Daily posted tips on social media advising women how to stay safe in situations including ride-hailing.

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