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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

U.S. tech companies for years have grumbled about how the Chinese government favored its homegrown heroes, largely shielding them from global competition. Now, though, China is turning on its own Big Tech companies, reminding them who's boss.

Why it matters: This complicates U.S. IPO plans for dozens of Chinese companies, and potentially revalues even more Chinese unicorns.

Driving the news: China on Sunday banned DiDi from app stores, just days after the ride-hail giant went public on the NYSE at a $73 billion valuation.

  • WSJ reports that Chinese regulators privately urged DiDi to delay its IPO, which the company neither did nor disclosed.
  • Per WSJ: "Back in Beijing, officials, especially those at the Cyberspace Administration of China, remained wary of the ride-hailing company’s troves of data potentially falling into foreign hands as a result of greater public disclosure associated with a U.S. listing."
  • DiDi shares were down more than 24% at this morning's market open, representing around $18 billion in lost market value.
  • Chinese regulators also disclosed cybersecurity investigations into several other companies, including recent U.S. IPO issuer Full Truck Alliance, blocking them from registering new users.
  • And there are new reports that Weibo (Nasdaq: WB) is considering a take-private plan amid the crackdown, although the social media company is saying it's untrue.

Flashback: Chinese regulators successfully scuttled an IPO for Ant Financial late last year, just days before it was set to price, albeit for different official reasons.

  • The big difference between then and now is that, by letting DiDi and others go public before bringing down the regulatory hammer, China is putting a chill on foreign investor interest in future Chinese tech IPOs. And lots of them are (or were?) expected to hit U.S. exchanges in the back half of 2021.

The bottom line: What a government giveth, a government can taketh away. From both companies and its shareholders.

Go deeper

Sep 17, 2021 - World

Apple, Google delete Navalny app as Russians go to polls

Alexei Navalny's Smart Voting app is seen on a phone in Moscow. Photo: Natalia Kolesnikova/AFP

Apple and Google have deleted jailed Kremlin opposition leader Alexei Navalny's tactical voting app from their app stores, per Reuters.

Why it matters: The tech companies removed the opposition-led Smart Voting app on the same day Russians head to the polls to elect a new parliament amid the largest crackdown of Kremlin critics in years.

The Exvangelicals

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Even as evangelicals maintain their position as the most popular religion in the U.S., a movement of self-described "exvangelicals" is breaking away, using social media to engage tens of thousands of former faithful.

The big picture: Donald Trump's presidency, as well as movements around LGBTQ rights, #MeToo and Black Lives Matter, drew more Americans into evangelical churches while also pushing some existing members away.

Updated 5 hours ago - Science

Huge wildfire reaches edge of Sequoia National Park

A plume of smoke and flames rise into the air as the fire burns towards Moro Rock during the KNP Complex fire in the Sequoia National Park near Three Rivers, California, on Saturday. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

Firefighters in Sequoia National Park were working into the night after two wildfires merged to reach the Giant Forest Saturday.

Why it matters: This forest contains over 2,000 giant sequoias, including the General Sherman Tree — the world's largest tree by volume. Park officials wrapped the redwoods in foil last week as the Paradise and Colony Fires, now known as the KNP Complex Fire, neared. Protection efforts appeared to be working overnight.