Uber China vice-president resigns two months after Didi acquires company

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 01 October, 2016, 9:23pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 02 October, 2016, 2:34am

Uber China’s vice-president Liu Zhen has resigned two months after the corporation was acquired by local rival Didi Chuxing, in a move that raises speculation there will be more internal restructuring.

A spokesperson with Uber China confirmed to the South China Morning Post that Liu had left Uber China but declined to give more details.

In a note titled “To all those who care about me” that was posted online on Friday, Liu, the de-facto chief executive officer of Uber China, hinted at her departure from the company.

“In the melting pot of Uber China, we ready for new journeys,” said the social media posting signed by Liu.

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“Blessings to all Uber employees, the glorious two years of Uber China was impossible without you. I have been extremely fortunate and proud to be able to go through all the ups and downs,” she wrote.

Didi Chuxing, the dominant Chinese operator of car-hailing services, took over Uber’s China operations in August in a deal that strengthened its market share on the mainland and possibly gives it a toehold to expand abroad.

Didi president Jean Liu, the daughter of Lenovo founder Liu Chuanzhi, is also Liu Zhen’s cousin.

The takeover left San Francisco-based Uber with 5.9 per cent of the combined company, and preferred equity interest equivalent to 17.7 per cent of Didi. Uber continues to operate as a separate brand in China after the takeover.

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“[The] merger is only an interlude, not an ending. (I’m) sincerely hoping Didi Chunxing will achieve new glorious heights,” Liu Zhen wrote in her note.

Liu joined Uber China in April 2015 aged in her 30s after a previous career in law, in a move she described in her note as “filled with uncertainty and the cruelty to survive amid competition”.

In an interview last year, Liu said Uber China would not consider merging with its domestic rivals Didi and Kuadi.

An unidentified Uber China employee previously told local magazine People that the merger with Didi Chuxing “felt like you have been sold by your father”. A source close to Liu told the magazine “she has cried many times” and that Liu disappeared after news of the merger broke.

Liu helped build Uber China into a firm with 300 employees and a market share of 35 per cent in the mainland’s car-hailing industry, local media reported.

Didi, founded in 2012, already merged two of China’s largest ride-sharing services less than 18 months ago as the domestic companies sought to compete against Uber, which had expanded aggressively in China since it entered the country in 2013.