In a setback for Uber’s expansion prospects in China, Apple has confirmed that it will be investing $1 billion in the Chinese ride-sharing service Didi Chuxing.
Their investment will help the Chinese firm, founded just last year, build on their current position of handling more than 11 million riders a day and with 300 million users nationwide, Didi said in a statement.
It is also the first time that Apple has decided to invest in transport as opposed to their traditional technologies. The investment now takes Didi’s total funding to roughly $3 billion, with the company valued at $26 billion.
“We are making the investment for a number of strategic reasons, including a chance to learn more about certain segments of the China market,” Apple CEO Tim Cook told Reuters.
“Apple is extremely impressed by the business they’ve built and their excellent leadership team, and we look forward to supporting them as they grow,” he added.
The competition will become increasingly fierce as the two firms battle for share of the Chinese market. Uber currently has an expansion target to 100 Chinese cities by the end of 2016, whilst Didi currently operates in 400 cities with over 4 million registered drivers, controlling an estimated 87% of the market.
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick took to Twitter to joke about the investment, pointing out that his girlfriend’s shares in Apple now meant she was also a Didi investor.