Chinese e-taxi giant Didi Chuxing has confirmed earlier reports that it’s acquiring leading Brazilian ride-hailing company 99. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The deal comes just weeks after Didi Chuxing announced a hefty $4 billion raise, taking its total funding to nearly $20 billion. São Paulo-based 99, which was founded in 2013, has raised around $240 million in funding with notable backers including Qualcomm, SoftBank, and none other than Didi Chuxing itself, which led its $100 million series C round last January.
Didi Chuxing was born of a merger between local rivals Didi Dache and Kuaidi Dache in 2015. Similar to Uber, Didi Chuxing offers smartphone-based car services, such as carpooling, taxis, and premium cars with drivers.
Though Didi Chuxing’s core ride-hailing service is limited to China, the company has been expanding through a targeted investment strategy that could help stymie Uber’s traction in key markets. Back in August Didi invested in Careem, a ride-hailing service that’s popular in dozens of cities across the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, while it also invested in Taxify, which operates in Europe and Africa. Elsewhere, Didi has invested in Uber’s domestic U.S. rival Lyft, in India’s Ola, and Southeast Asia’s Grab. Oh, and Uber also elected to fold its local Chinese operations into Didi via a $30 billion transaction back in 2016.
Didi has made it clear that it plans to expand internationally, and it’s evident that it plans to do so through big investments that may, as we’ve just seen with 99, lead to all-out acquisitions.
“Globalization is a top strategic priority for Didi,” noted Didi founder and CEO Cheng Wei. “With enhanced investments in AI capabilities and smart transportation solutions, we will continue to advance the transformation of global transportation and automotive industries through diversified international operations and partnerships.”
As a result of this purchase, Wei suggested that his company will look to accelerate its growth across Latin America.
“The success that founders and team of 99 have achieved in Brazil embody the very spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation in the LatAm region,” he said. “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.”
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