Apple has announced that it has invested a staggering $1 billion in China’s version of Uber, Didi Chuxing. While other rights sharing apps, including Uber, have a presence in China, Didi Chuxing is by far the dominant player. With over 1 billion rides completed last year, it holds close to 90% of the Chinese market in ride sharing. While this partnership obviously forms more than a simple financial transaction, there seems to be a significant lack of continuity with regards to public relations. “We are making this investment for strategic reasons,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook., “Including a chance to learn more about certain segments of the Chinese market.

While this partnership obviously forms more than a simple financial transaction, there seems to be a significant lack of continuity with regards to public relations. “We are making this investment for strategic reasons,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook., “Including a chance to learn more about certain segments of the Chinese market. Of course we believe it will deliver a strong return on investment also.”

Meanwhile, Didi Chuxing confirmed to journalists that this latest round of funding formed its most significant so far, however it was cagey on the amount actually invested by Apple. Founder and CEO Cheng Wei spoke more of the investment being a tick of approval rather than a strategic partnership. “The investment from Apple is an enormous encouragement and inspiration. Didi will work hard with drivers, riders and partners to make available to every citizen flexible and reliable mobility choices, and help cities solve transportation environmental and employment challenges.”

China holds significant strategic importance to Apple, especially as the Asian powerhouse is well on its way to becoming the world’s largest iPhone market. However recent closures of a number of Apple products, including iTunes, have been demonstrative of a Chinese regime not willing to simply hold the door open for local market share to be taken. Furthermore, smart phone sales in China – while still growing – have slowed considerably in the face of economic uncertainty. Apple in China has experienced a relative slump and clearly wish to demonstrate to both the Chinese government and people that they have evolved into a global business, with a focus on enhancing local markets, rather than being an American corporate invader using Chinese dollars to take profits offshore.

Regardless, this move puts Apple in good company. Alibaba and SoftBank are among other investors in Didi Chuxing and regardless of any strategic benefits Tim Cook and company may or may not experience, this is likely to be a wise financial investment that is bound to add to Apple’s already swelling coffers.

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