China's Didi Chuxing invests in Taxify, a European rival to Uber heading for London

Lynsey Barber
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Taxify is now backed by Didi to fuel expansion in Europe and Africa (Source: Taxify)

China's billion dollar answer to Uber, Didi Chuxing, has invested in Taxify, the European ride-hailing startup which is about to launch in London.

The deal signals a first step into the European market for Didi, which has previously partnered with other companies to expand beyond its home turf, where it has more than 400m users and operates in 400 cities. That includes 99 in Brazil, Lyft in the US, Ola in India and GrabTaxi in southeast Asia.

Read more: London’s taxi wars are hotting up again: Taxify’s coming to town

The fresh cash for Estonia-founded Taxify will fund plans to expand to London, where City A.M first revealed it's getting set to launch, and take on Uber in the capital and elsewhere.

The service operates in 19 countries in Eastern Europe and Africa and has raised around $2m from investors, just a fraction of the billions which have been ploughed into Uber and Didi, which is backed by Apple, Foxxconn, Alibaba and Softbank making it the second most valuable private tech company in the world.

Read more: Transport for London has delayed English tests for Uber drivers again

The value of Didi's investment in Taxify has not been disclosed, but is understood to be a significant increase on its most recent valuation when it raised $1.4m from early stage investors, including London-listed TMT Investments.

The two firms will also work together on developing technology.

Uber conceded its business in China to Didi last year and Russia and eastern Europe to Yandex last month, with the US firm taking a stake in each.

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