Didi Chuxing, China’s top ride-hailing app, has invested in a similar app in Brazil called 99, the Beijing-based firm said on Thursday. Formerly 99Taxis, the start-up got an undisclosed sum as part of the new partnership.
A source close to the deal says 99 raised $100 million, with Didi leading the round.
It comes 16 months after Didi put $100 million into US-based Lyft.
Didi, valued at about $30 billion after raising over $10 billion from investors (including Apple), adds muscle to 99’s fight against Uber in Brazil — as well as its mooted expansion across Latin America. Founded in 2012, 99 has 140,000 registered drivers in 550 cities across Brazil.
"Didi's financing, state-of-art technology and operations knowledge will play a key supporting role as 99 actively expands our network and services in Brazil and reshapes the competitive landscape in Latin America," said CEO Peter Fernandez on Thursday.
Rebels with a cause
Many of Uber’s largest rivals teamed up at the end of 2015, vowing to make their apps inter-operable around the world
in a bid to challenge Uber’s global ubiquity. The rebel gang includes India’s Ola and Southeast Asia’s Grab.
Didi isn’t the first Chinese tech giant to samba into Brazil — and not even Brazil’s recent economic woes are stemming the flow. Search engine firm Baidu has been active in Brazil for years with a number of social sites and apps as part of a broader push into emerging markets where there are many youngsters using the web on their phones. Xiaomi entered mid-2015.