Last week Apple poured some heavy cash into Chinese ride service, Didi Chuxing. The company is Uber’s major competition in the region and happens to be in one of Apple’s major markets, so it’s not surprising that the tech giant would invest money in it—and not just several million, but $1 billion.
In speaking with Reuters about the investment, CEO Tim Cook said that investment was a strategic and an”We are making the investment for a number of strategic and observational reasons. While Apple has had a strong footing in China for a while now, there’s always more to learn about the market in different areas where there could opportunity. Didi Chuxing’s CEO Cheng Wei said that Apple’s investment proved to be encouraging for the company.
While Didi Chuxing competes with—and holds an advantage over—Uber in China, it is steadily building up its finances with strong funding and even working agreements with Uber rivals such as Lyft. With such rapid growth for a company that didn’t exist until four years ago, expansion beyond China’s borders would be expected, but hasn’t been hinted at yet.
As for Apple, there’s a lot potential for the company and the Chinese transportation giant in the way of branding, advertising, or getting its technology on the road. It could also simply be a means of having a finger in every pot in a time where ride sharing is becoming bigger business.