#Asia Anti-Uber alliance grows: China’s Didi in $100m funding for Brazilian ride-hailing app


A classic car on a Curitiba street corner, Brazil. Photo credit: pxhidalgo / 123RF.

Didi Chuxing, China’s top ride-hailing app, has invested in a similar app in Brazil called 99, the Beijing-based firm said today. Formerly 99Taxis, the startup got an undisclosed sum as part of the new partnership.

A source close to the deal says 99 raised US$100 million, with Didi leading the round.

It comes 16 months after Didi put US$100 million into US-based Lyft.

Didi, valued at about US$30 billion after raising over US$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 today.

See: For Chinese tech companies venturing overseas, China is a toxic brand

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.

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