Share this on Twitter Share this on Facebook Share this on LinkedIn Share this on Sina Weibo Share this on Wechat Share this on LinkedIn Illustration by Luis Grañena Listen to SupChina editor-at-large and Sinica podcast host Kaiser Kuo read this article. When Xi Jinping lined up the leaders of the world’s biggest tech companies for a class photo during his 2015 Seattle visit, the man standing in the top row, second from the left, had plenty of reason to smile. Not only had 32-year-old Cheng Wei been invited to a room full of A-listers — the chief executives of Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Alibaba were all there — but his chief rival, the CEO of Uber, had been kept out. Cheng’s ridesharing app, Didi Chuxing, was only three years old at the time, but the photo foreshadowed Didi’s spectacular rise. The next year, Uber threw in the towel in China, leaving Didi Chuxing to enjoy a near monopoly in the largest commuter market in the world. And over the next five years, Cheng expanded Didi’s operations well beyond China — the company now operates in 15 countries with plans to launch soon in Western Europe — and well beSubscribe, register or login to read the rest. Registered users can access a limited amount of content for free.Subscribers get full access to: Exclusive longform investigative journalism, Q&As, news and analysis, and data on Chinese business elites and corporations. We publish China scoops you won't find anywhere else. A weekly curated reading list on China from David Barboza, Pulitzer Prize-winning former Shanghai correspondent for The New York Times. A daily roundup of China finance, business and economics headlines. We offer discounts for groups, institutions and students. Go to our Subscriptions page for details.