Apple has invested $1 billion in China’s largest ride-hailing service Didi Chuxing (formerly called Didi Kuaidi). The service dominates the ride-sharing segment in China with a market share of 87%, facilitating over 1 million rides a day. The company has received funding from Softbank, as well as Chinese internet giants Alibaba and Tencent, but today’s $1 billion funding marks its single largest investment to date.
In a statement to Reuters, Tim Cook said:
We are making the investment for a number of strategic reasons, including a chance to learn more about certain segments of the China market. Of course, we believe it will deliver a strong return for our invested capital over time as well.
(The deal) reflects our excitement about their growing business … and also our continued confidence in the long term in China’s economy.
With Apple facing increased pressure in the Chinese market — as evidenced by the shutdown of iBooks and iTunes Movies in the country — investing in Didi Chuxing provides a platfrom for the vendor that goes beyond consumer electronics. The company is also rumored to be working on its driverless car initiative, and today’s investment could see Didi Chuxing becoming a potential customer in the future.
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