Uber to face China-backed rival in London

By Angus Mcneice | | Updated: 2017-08-11 10:19

Uber to face China-backed rival in London

China-backed ride-hailing service Taxify has recruited thousands of drivers in the UK. [Photo/VCG]

A new car-hailing service is preparing to take on Uber in London, after being boosted by investment from China's Didi Chuxing.

The company plans to charge similar amounts to Uber but will allow drivers to keep a greater share of fares.

Taxify has applied for an operating license with the city's transport authority Transport for London and has opened a training office near King's Cross station. UK operations manager Finn Geraghty said Taxify has already signed up drivers "in the thousands".

"We're progressing very well. We're developing a close relationship with TfL and at the moment we are on boarding drivers," Geraghty said. "We're confident that in the coming months we'll be launched, live, and putting out a bit of a change for London."

On Aug 1, Didi announced it had invested an undisclosed amount in Taxify and had entered into a strategic partnership with the company. Didi is one of the world's largest mobile transportation platforms, with around 400 million users signed up to its taxi, minibus and bike-sharing services.

Uber sold its China operations to Didi in 2016 in a deal which saw both companies receiving equity in the other, and the Beijing-based company has entered into strategic partnerships with other ride-hailing services.

In 2015 Didi bought a minority stake in Indian car-hailing service Ola, and on Tuesday the company invested in Middle East online taxi service Careem. Didi's partnerships with Taxify extends its reach into 19 European, African and Central American countries.

Markus Villig, founder and CEO of Taxify, said: "Taxify will utilize this partnership to solidify our position in core markets in Europe and Africa. We believe Didi is the best partner to help us become the most popular and efficient transport option in Europe & Africa."

While Taxify will charge users similar rates to other car-hailing services, the firm hopes its favorable commission rates will attract London drivers to sign on to its service. The company takes 15 percent of the price of a ride, compared to Uber's 25 percent commission.

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