Published on : Friday, January 5, 2018
Didi is little known outside its home market. But the Brazilian deal reflects its push to become a major international player after driving Uber out of the Chinese market in 2016.
The Chinese company $600 million secured $4 billion in fresh funds late last month, partly to fuel its international ambitions.
CEO Cheng Wei said that globalization is a top strategic priority for Didi.
Didi Chuxing was already the lead investor in a $100 million funding round for 99 a year ago.
Over the past 12 months, this has sent engineering teams to Sao Paulo to work on improving 99’s technology to make it more competitive with Uber.
Didi sees similarities between cities in China and Latin America, including patterns of urban development and unevenly developed public transportation systems.
Didi Chuxing appears to be interested in growing elsewhere in Latin America.
The expansion extends Didi’s heated rivalry with Uber, which shifted its attention and resources to Latin America after retreating from China. Uber is the leading ride hailing company in Brazil, and Mexico City is one of Uber’s busiest markets in the world. Didi has also made inroads into several other global markets that are very important to Uber.
It has partnered with seven international ride-hailing companies, including Grab in Southeast Asia, Ola in India and Taxify, which operates in Europe, Africa and other regions. Working as a loose coalition, the companies have a better chance of competing against Uber and its formidable war chest.
The series of deals in recent years has also created a tangled the mesh of alliances in the industry.