March 6, 2017 / 6:58 PM / 5 months ago

Brazilian startup 99 launches service rivaling Uber in Rio

SAO PAULO, March 6 (Reuters) - Brazilian ride-hailing app 99 said on Monday it was introducing its discount 99POP service in Rio de Janeiro, expanding direct competition with rival Uber Technologies Inc in Latin America's largest economy.

99, which started nearly five years ago with a cab-hailing app called 99Taxis, began offering 99POP rides using ordinary cars in August in Brazil's biggest city, São Paulo.

The service's expansion to Rio is part of a strategy financed by more than $100 million of investment led by Chinese ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing, 99 Communications Director Matheus Moraes said in a release.

That deal, announced in January, mirrored alliances with Lyft in the United States, Ola in India and Grab in Southeast Asia, as Didi aims to compete with Uber's global dominance after winning a showdown in the Chinese market.

99 said it aimed to win over drivers for its platform by retaining 17 percent of what passengers pay for a 99POP ride, compared with 25 percent retained by its competitors. (Reporting by Brad Haynes; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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