Apple is investing $1 billion in Didi Chuxing, a ride-sharing app that dominates the Chinese market and is Uber's prime competition there. As Ryan Brooks reports, a deal driving toward the car business could point to where Apple's headed next.
A billion dollar bet for Apple's in its second biggest market. The U.S. tech giant announcing late on Thursday that it's ploughing money into Uber's biggest Chinese rival - Didi Chuxing. It's the number one name by a long shot for taxi apps in China... Didi's 11 million rides a day landing it almost 90 percent of the country's taxi app market. (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS CORRESPONDENT, PAUL CARSTEN, SAYING: "For Didi, it really doesn't hurt to get a huge chunk of cash - one billion dollars- from the world's most prestigious and valuable company- Apple. Didi has been spending money like crazy in China in a battle with Uber. For Apple, it doesn't really make sense to invest in Uber because both companies are working on autonomous driving to an extent and will probably end up clashing with each other. Apple has now kind of joined this coalition of companies that either are competing with Uber or who expect to in the future. And that includes GM, the car maker in the US and Lyft, the other US ride hailing app." China is a critical market for Apple, but it's been through some tough times in the country recently. iPhone sales have fallen and some of Apple's online stores have been shut down. That's got analysts wondering if the companies interest in Didi may go beyond business. (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS CORRESPONDENT, PAUL CARSTEN, SAYING: "However, for Apple, people are also seeing this as something that has political advantages in China. They've had a really rough time here lately. And the tried is turning against this American tech firm. And a tried and tested tactic of U.S. tech firms when they hit issues in China- is to partner with or invest in Chinese tech firms. It's often seen as a way to carry favor with the government and get back on Beijing's good side, so this has that kind of advantage." Apple CEO Tim Cook is keeping quiet on the company's future with cars but he's still upbeat about Apple's chances in China- He's flying out for a visit later this month.