Apple has invested $1 billion in Didi Chuxing, Uber’s biggest car-hailing competition in China, the companies announced on Thursday evening.
Didi Chuxing is said to control most of the Chinese market for car-hailing services.
In an interview with Reuters, Apple CEO Tim Cook positioned this investment as a way to grow its presence 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,” Cook told Reuters.
In addition to the fundraising, Apple will help Didi Chuxing with building its technology platform.
Didi Chuxing was attempting to raise funding at a valuation of $25 billion USD, the Wall Street Journal reported in April.
With this round, Apple joins the ranks of Didi Chuxing (formerly Didi Kuaidi) investors, including Tencent and Alibaba, trying to stem off Uber’s rapid global growth.
Uber has taken the threat of Didi Chuxing seriously. Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has committed to losing $1 billion a year in China to compete with Didi.
Didi Chuxing, meanwhile, has partnered up with services like Lyft, Uber’s biggest domestic rival, to form a global “Anti-Uber Alliance.”
Apple’s investment might hint at the Cupertino-based company’s long-rumored plans to get into the automotive business: Uber is investing heavily in self-driving car technology, and Apple’s investment in Didi might be a way for the company to head it off at the pass.
Cook is still downplaying Apple’s car ambitions, for now. He tells Reuters that Apple’s only investment in cars is the CarPlay technology that lets you hook up an iPhone to the dashboard.
“That is what we do today in the car business, so we will have to see what the future holds,” Cook told Reuters.