Didi Chuxing, the ride-sharing company that forced Uber out of China, has expanded its increasingly global empire after it made an undisclosed investment in Taxify, an Uber-like service that operates in Europe and Africa.
Four-year-old Taxify is headquartered in Estonia — three of its founders are ex-Skype — and today it operates in 18 countries, including Hungary, Romania, South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya. The company claims 2.5 million users and its services span private cars and licensed taxis, which puts it squarely into the ‘Uber Rival’ box.
Aside from buying Uber China’s business to consolidate its dominant position at home, Didi has expanded its network with a series of global expansion partnerships. In addition to high-profile investments in Lyft, India’s Ola and Grab in Southeast Asia — the latter of which just landed $2 billion from Didi and SoftBank — it is in South America via a $100 million investment in Brazil’s 99.
Now we can add Europe to that list because, interestingly, Didi hadn’t backed an Uber rival in the region until this news.
Didi CEO Will Cheng Wei said that the investment, which includes a strategic partnership, will help link up transport services in Asia with those in Europe and Africa. Didi, which claims 400 million users across a variety of services in China, said it will help Taxify to grow its presence in its regions — where it claims to be second to Uber — and to develop smarter products.
The alliance will certainly be a boost since, unlike most others in the subsidization-heavily ride-hailing space, Taxify has raised a relatively modest €2 million ($2.4 million) from investors to date. That’s likely to change now it has the world’s second-highest valued private tech company in its corner.
Frontpage January 2, 2019