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Baidu and Didi dismiss dozens of employees in anti-corruption crackdown

2019-08-08 16:50 Thursday


Two of China's highest profile tech companies, Baidu and Didi, recently took measures to crack down on internal corruption by firing multiple employees and reporting suspected infringements to local police.

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The anti-graft efforts come as more and more companies in China are taking proactive steps to ensure that their staff members comply with the latest government regulations.

Tech firms in particular have been public about their anti-corruption campaigns as they seek to demonstrate their willingness to comply with the Peoples Republic's approach to misconduct.

Baidu is China's largest search engine and Didi is one of the best-known ride-hailing platforms. Between them, they dismissed over 40 employees.

Chinese president Xi Jinping has led a wide-reaching crackdown campaign since 2013. Its drive to stamp out corruption has targeted all sections of society from high-ranking government officials to corporate figures.

Apart from these two companies, other firms such as drone maker DJI, lifestyle services giant Meituan, used-car trading platform Guazi and online retailer JD, have tried to clean up staff misdemeanors from within their ranks.

According to a leaked email, Baidu wrote: “Any employee who violates laws will not be tolerated. Serious cases will be sent on to the department of public security.”

The search giant dismissed a number of employees that were allegedly involved in internal corruption, the company announced. Details of the allegations also involved trade secret infringement and bribery.

Baidu runs a paid listing scheme that has been involved in a past healthcare industry scandal. It fired 14 members of staff linked to twelve insider-organized corruption cases.

According to one internal email, those employees crossed the company's “red line.” It said it would hand over some of the cases to police for more investigation.

In one particular case, an intern at Baidu was found downloading huge amounts of data files from the company and saving them on servers elsewhere. Another Baidu case involved staff attempting to cheat the company's overtime compensation and reimbursement policies.

Over at Didi, the firm laid off 30 staff members for allegedly being involved in collusion and bribery earlier this year, according to a statements sent out on the popular messaging app WeChat.

In one scenario, a service consultant lent assistant to drivers on the platform that fell short of the company's requirements to register.

Didi said in a statement: “We underline that we will take a zero-tolerance strategy towards cheating behavior.” Ten of their employees have been referred to the justice department.

In one unconventional approach taken by JD earlier this year, it went as far as organizing a trip for employees to go on a tour of a prison in Beijing.

Meanwhile, DJI made headlines a few months ago after it said it was investigating some 45 employees for graft. The company announced it could lose as much as US$ 150m from internal fraud cases. Smartphone maker Xiaomi, Alibaba and Tencent have launched similar investigations.

Even Chinese telecoms giant Huawei is not immune. Two years ago, the company investigated its executive vice president of its consumer business group for the Greater China region for bribery.

In June, Xiaomi handled two corruption cases, according to an internal email. In one of the cases, a staff member from the marketing department was sent to jail for accepting bribes from Xiaomi suppliers.

Earlier in 2019, bike-sharing startup Ofo announced it was investigating 8 corruption cases, 4 of which have been accepted by the nation's justice authorities.

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