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.