Cab driver in China rams passenger to death, puts ride-hailing firm Didi under spotlight

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BEIJING (Reuters) - A driver employed by China's largest ride-hailing firm, Didi Chuxing, killed a passenger by ramming his car into the man after a quarrel, the firm said in a post on social media on Monday.

Police in the southeastern city of Fuzhou said the driver had been detained, and Didi said it was cooperating with the investigation and company representatives had visited the victim's family.

"After an argument, the driver drove the car and repeatedly rammed into the male passenger and caused his death," Didi said on Weibo, China's Twitter-like social media platform.

Two cases of rape and murder in 2018 involving Didi drivers put the firm under public and government scrutiny. Back then, Didi responded by launching a campaign to improve safety for passengers, and with the latest incident trending on the Twitter-like Weibo platform on Monday, it pledged to do more.

"Didi will make the utmost efforts to reduce potential safety risks, provide an extra safety training programme for drivers and eliminate the occurrence of safety incidents," a representative for Didi safety committee said.

Didi's backers include Japan's SoftBank Group Corp and Apple Inc. The firm is also operating in several markets outside China, including South America, Japan, Australia and Russia.

Reuters reported in October, citing people familiar with the matter, that Didi is considering Hong Kong for a multibillion-dollar initial public offering in 2021.

(Reporting by Yilei Sun and Tony Munroe; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)