“We decided to make the investment for a number of strategic reasons, including the chance to learn more about certain segments of the China market. We see lots of opportunities for closer cooperation between the two companies, and we also believe it will deliver strong returns,” Apple CEO Tim Cook told Xinhua news agency.
Cook said the investment reflected Apple’s excitement about Didi’s fast-growing business and its continued confidence in China’s economy in the long run.
Apple has invested heavily to expand its presence in China through Apple stores, environmental initiatives, and supply chains.
The latest Didi investment suggests the US company is placing greater focus on app developers in China, now its second largest market.
“Like Apple, Didi is focused on providing a great experience to Chinese customers, and in the process they’re creating jobs and economic opportunities through innovation. It is also helping the environment by reducing the number of cars on the road,” Cook said.
This is the single largest investment Didi has received, the company said in a statement.
“The endorsement from Apple is enormous encouragement and inspiration for our four-year-old company,” said Cheng Wei, founder and CEO of Didi, adding that Didi will continue to offer flexible and reliable transportation choices and help cities solve transportation, environmental and employment problems.
With nearly 300 million users, Didi holds about an 87-percent share of the private-car-hailing market in China and about a 99-percent share of its taxi-hailing market.
Didi has also invested in its peers Lyft in the US, Grab in Southeast Asia and Ola in India to compete with rival Uber outside China.