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Didi suspends a carpooling service after passenger murder

IntimacyKit 1 May 11

Didi said in a statement on Friday it was suspending Hitch -- an app that allows people to share a ride with a registered driver -- starting Saturday. It said it will review the service, its drivers and customer service.

Chinese state media reported Friday that the suspect in the murder of a young flight attendant is still on the run, and was seen fleeing from the scene and abandoning a car. Didi confirmed the woman was using Hitch.

Hitch is one of 13 services Didi offers in China. Didi said its other services will remain operational.

A spokesperson said Hitch accounts for a "small portion of Didi's service." Didi Express, its main service, accounts for 80% of the company's business in terms of the number of rides.

The male suspect used his father's Hitch account, breaching the service's rules, according to Didi. The company said the father had passed the verification process and criminal background checks required by the company.

But Didi admitted faults in its safety processes, and said its "responsibilities in this case are undeniable."

"Our original night safety mechanism was defective so that the night mode face recognition mechanism was not triggered before the driver took the order," the company said in a statement.

Didi is best known for successfully driving Uber out of China in 2016. Since then, investors have pumped billions more into the company. Its latest funding round in December valued it at $56 billion.

The company is expanding internationally, buying an Uber rival in Brazil in January and launching its own service in Mexico in April.

Didi is reportedly considering an IPO by the end of this year, potentially putting it ahead of Uber, which plans to go public in 2019.

CNNMoney (London) First published May 11, 2018: 11:54 AM ET