China allows tech trio to resume business after cyber probe

Chinese authorities are allowing Full Truck Alliance and Kanzhun to sign up new users again almost a year after both companies were entangled in cyber security investigations alongside ride-hailing group Didi.

Beijing launched probes into Full Truck, online recruiting platform Kanzhun and Didi last July just weeks after the companies had raised money on Wall Street, as Chinese regulators sought to tighten their grip on the data on which the country’s tech groups rely.

On Monday, Full Truck’s two lorry-hailing apps Yunmanman and Huochebang, known as China’s “Uber for trucks”, were allowing new driver sign-ups.

Kanzhun’s app Boss Zhipin continued to bar new user sign-ups, but the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) had informed both companies they could begin signing up new users immediately, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The removal of the ban on new users for the two companies was first reported by the Wall Street Journal, which also said that regulators were wrapping up a probe into Didi.

Shares in Full Truck jumped 15 per cent and Kanzhun climbed 22 per cent in early trading in New York, while Didi’s stock surged more than 50 per cent.

The signs of progress in resolving the investigations follows vice-premier Liu He’s repeated pledges of support for private companies and may signal a departure from a period of regulatory scrutiny that ensnared almost every large Chinese tech company.

Liu, who is President Xi Jinping’s closest economic adviser, has been manoeuvring to help the economy amid a deep slump triggered by Xi’s zero-Covid policy.

The CAC did not tell the companies that the investigations had concluded on Monday, nor did it mention possible fines, according to a person familiar with the matter, adding that that left the agency with the power to decide final penalties based on the companies’ “performance” during the probe.

Nevertheless, investors were quick to seize on any evidence that the crackdown on the tech sector may be easing.

“We expect marginal improvement in regulatory pressure on internet sectors in the near term, leading to sentiment improvement and technical rebounds,” said Bruce Pang, head of research at…