The Chinese ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing has announced that it will start working in Brazil.
As the Financial Times reports (paywall), the company won’t be setting up an independent operation in the country. Instead, it’s forming a partnership with Brazil’s domestic ride-hailing firm, 99. It’s not clear what the deal involves, exactly, but a 99 spokesperson tells TechCrunch that Didi has ponied up “in excess of $100 million,” which will at least secure it a seat on 99's board.
It’s no secret that Didi wants to expand outside China. In an interview with Bloomberg late last year, the company’s president, Jean Liu, stated plainly: “We’re definitely going global." And it might be required. The Wall Street Journal reported last month that changes to ride-hailing regulations in China, which now ban non-local residents from driving for such services, were forcing many drivers off the road in the nation’s largest cities.
By expanding into Brazil, though, Didi will once again square up against its biggest rival. Uber sees Latin American countries as a huge opportunity, and Brazil is currently its third-largest market. It’s not the first time that Didi has supported an Uber competitor, either. In 2015, it invested in Lyft, America’s second largest ride-hailing company.
The relationship between Uber and Didi is, arguably, a little strange. Last summer, Uber gave up on its attempt to storm the Chinese ride-hailing market after losing billions of dollars in trying to make a success of it. Instead, it sold its operations to Didi, and they now both have a seat on one another’s board, minus voting rights.
Didi’s chief executive, Cheng Wei, has told Bloomberg that the situation means that the two companies will “learn from each other.” But clearly whatever they learn will only serve to help the two battle it out on the global market. Who’s hailed as victorious outside of their respective domestic markets remains to be seen.
The worst technology of 2021
Face filters, billionaires in space, and home-buying algorithms that overpay all made our annual list of technology gone wrong.
A horrifying new AI app swaps women into porn videos with a click
Deepfake researchers have long feared the day this would arrive.
Meet Altos Labs, Silicon Valley’s latest wild bet on living forever
Funders of a deep-pocketed new "rejuvenation" startup are said to include Jeff Bezos and Yuri Milner.
A gene-edited pig’s heart has been transplanted into a human for the first time
The procedure is a one-off, and highly experimental, but the technique could help reduce transplant waiting lists in the future.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.