China’s ride-sharing boom was once seen as a path to prosperity for thousands of drivers. However, a government crackdown on an industry dominated by Didi Chuxing has brought that dream to a screeching halt.
In Beijing and other major cities, non-resident drivers are now banned. That’s left many struggling to pay off loans they’d taken out to buy cars.
Drivers must therefore take the risk of getting nabbed without the right permit by staying on the roads. Now struggling for money, many live in a drab row of concrete homes known by locals as “Didi village.” Its paths are filled with trash and there’s an outdoor toilet, but the rent is cheap.