BEIJING -- China's largest ride-hailing provider Didi Chuxing will lay off around 2,000 low-performing workers this year, starting a major round of job cuts, as it moves to strengthen rider safety amid consumer backlash.
The layoffs are part of a broader structural reorganization discussed at a meeting of Didi's top managers Friday. Among the steps decided on are increasing investment in safety and regulatory compliance and cutting back on noncore operations
Details have not been disclosed, but the company apparently will not renew the contracts of about 2,000 workers, or about 15% of its workforce, according to sources close to the matter. Instead, it will hire 2,500 new recruits to help improve safety technology, driver management and overseas operations. The Beijing-based company is expected to have a staff of around 13,000 at the end of 2019, roughly the same as at the end of 2018.
Previously, Didi would only push out workers who fell in the lowest of five performance categories, but this year, some departments are letting go of those in the second-lowest category, according to media reports. Didi has declined to comment on the matter.
Two female passengers were killed by drivers of its Hitch car-pooling service last year, and Didi was forced to suspend the service each time. Extra safety measures implemented after the incidents have made it harder to secure drivers, and some customers switched to competitor services in the mean time.