Brazil carpooling startup sells to Chinese giant Didi for reported $1 billion

By January 30, 2018

Ride-sharing competition is heating up in Latin America as a major purchase in Brazil should shake up the playing field against Uber.

Brazilian startup 99, a ride-hailing app considered a major rival of Uber in Latin America, was recently bought out by Chinese ride-sharing platform Didi Chuxing, which has already pushed Uber out of its native China.

The deal is estimated to be worth around $1 billion, according to Tech Crunch.

“The success that the founders and team of 99 have achieved in Brazil embody the very spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation in the Latin American region,” said Didi founder Chen Wei in a statement. “Building on the deep trust between our two teams, this new level of integration will bring to the region more convenient, value-added mobility services.”

This buyout is especially interesting considering Didi bought Uber’s Chinese operations in 2016, giving Uber a stake in Didi worth about $9 billion, as reported in the Wall Street Journal.

According to a Reuters report, this could be just the beginning of Didi’s influence in Latin America as the company is expected to put cars on the ground in Mexico later this year.

Didi raised an estimated $5.5 billion from investors last year as it has made a name for itself teaming with Uber rivals around the world like, among other notable partnerships, Lyft in the U.S., Singapore’s Grab, Estonia’s Taxify, and now 99 in Brazil. The major Brazilian cities of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro rank among the top cities for weekly Uber trips, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“The investment represents an important step forward in Didi’s global strategy,” the company said in an announcement. “Didi has established alliances with seven important international actors in a network serving more than 1,000 cities and reaching more than 60 percent of the global population.”