In an unexpected announcement, tech giant Apple has revealed that it has invested $1 billion in Didi Chuxing (formerly known as Didi Kuaidi), China’s biggest ride-sharing service. The entry of the world’s largest IT company into the transportation sector is sure to be watched keenly as Apple has reportedly also been working on its own car project. The investment comes at a time when Apple’s sales have been flagging in China and the iPhone business shows signs of maturing.
In a statement, Tim Cook, CEO, Apple said, “Didi exemplifies the innovation taking place in the iOS developer community in China. We are extremely impressed by the business they’ve built and their excellent leadership team, and we look forward to supporting them as they grow.”
Cheng Wei, founder and chief executive, Didi said, “The endorsement from Apple is an enormous encouragement and inspiration for our four-year-old company.” The investment is the single largest investment ever received by the company, which serves about 300 million users across 400 cities in China.
The investment could send tremors in the rival Uber camp, which began its China operations in 2015 and operates in 40 Chinese cities. Both companies are engaged in fierce price wars as Uber plans to extend its operations to 100 cities by end of 2016.