China’s Didi invests in Taxify, an Uber rival operating in Europe and Africa

Didi Chuxing, the ride-sharing company that forced Uber out of China, has expanded its increasingly global empire after it made an investment in Taxify, an Uber-like service that operates in Europe and Africa as it prepares to launch in London later this year.

The amount invested has not been disclosed but TechCrunch understands from a source close to the deal that it is an eight-figure U.S. dollar sum. We are trying to get a more specific number.

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. While much of its business has been in emerging markets, the company is planning for an expansion to London later this year. Taxify claims 2.5 million users and its services span private cars and licensed taxis, which puts it squarely into the ‘Uber Rival’ box.

That’s a cause that Didi knows well — and is prone to putting money towards helping.

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 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-heavy ride-hailing space, Taxify has raised a relative 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.