Apple takes on Uber as it invests $1bn in Chinese taxi-hailing service

Apple has pumped $1bn into Chinese taxi-hailing service Didi Chuxing. The tech giant said the move would help it better understand the Chinese market, where sales of its iPhone have stumbled badly. It will also align Apple against Uber, which has been losing $1bn a year as it subsidises rides in its struggle to loosen Didi Chuxing’s grip on the market in China.

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.

Apple CEO Tim Cook

Didi Chuxing, formerly known as Didi Kuaidi, said the funding from Apple was the single largest investment it has ever received. Analysts say it provides a glimpse of how Apple may diversify its business as sales of the iPhone level off. It has been toying with developing cars and the latest venture will tap into two booming areas - the sharing economy and car technology. Others say Apple is also sending a message that it is serious about the Chinese economy.

This is as much about sending signals about their seriousness in that country as it is about helping Didi build a ride-sharing platform

Analyst Ben Bajarin of Creative Strategies