Didi Chuxing. Photo: Flickr

Didi Chuxing, a major Chinese ride-sharing company, has acquired a controlling stake in Brazil’s leading ride-hailing firm, 99, which is the first overseas acquisition in the nation’s ride-sharing sector, Yicai.com reported.

The companies did not disclose the stake acquired nor the value, but it was estimated to be around US$294 million by market analysts.

The buyout will potentially create a formidable rival to Uber in Brazil. Earlier in 2017, soon after Didi had become 99’s strategic investor and joined the board of the company, Uber announced it would build up a support center in Sao Paulo, with plans to invest US$62 million.

Brazil’s 99 was founded in 2012 by local youth entrepreneurs to provide online car and taxi calling services.

To date, it operates in 550 cities in Brazil and maintains the lead in the markets of the country’s first-tier cities, such as Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.