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Apple Backs Uber Rival in China

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Photo: Julien GONG Min

Uber is having some problems gaining a foothold in China. City governments have led raids on their offices and banned private drivers from offering taxi services through apps, while the app’s Chinese rival, Didi Chuxing (formerly Didi Kuaidi) has absolutely dominated the market (also partnering with another rival, Lyft, giving it access to India and Southeast Asia), holding nearly 90% of the country’s ride-sharing business. Uber reports that, as they continue to try to wedge themselves into the Chinese market, it is losing about $1 billion each year in the area (although this loss is apparently offset by Uber’s substantial profits in other cities).

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Now, though, Uber is facing another setback of sorts—Apple has decided to invest $1 billion in Didi Chuxing, signaling the tech company’s seriousness on somehow entering the automotive market in some way. For Apple, this also is a signal of the company’s future direction in China. Chinese officials have been pressuring the company for a while to invest in the country’s economy, and the company recently closed its Chinese iTunes store.

With Apple still amassing vehicle talent for its mysterious and ambiguously-named Project Titan, it might just turn out that Apple intends to enter into the world of car sharing and autonomous car fleets rather than coming out with their own vehicles.

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So, that’s a bit of a bummer for Uber, there, but I doubt the company will bow out of the market easily. China is the world’s biggest car market, after all, and there are sure to be plenty of people more willing to share a ride than to drive into heavy traffic themselves (that is, if they even wanted to try to pass through the difficult process to get a license plate, in some places).

News Source: Green Car Reports