Apple recently invested $1 billion in China’s largest private ride-hailing service, Didi Chuxing (a competitor of Uber). Preliminary reports are sharing with the public that the move may be a way for Apple to not only better understand the Chinese market, but take its first step in the automotive/transportation industry.
The large investment gives Apple a window into the business that dominates 87% of the country’s ride-hailing services, which roughly comes out to 11 million rides per day. This partnership lends a little support to the claim that Apple is secretly working on a self-driving vehicle-related product, code-named “Project Titan.”
So what is behind this investment?
Is it a deal geared towards testing out Apple CarPlay in the market?
Is it the first step into the creation of the iCar?
The answer: We don’t know right now.
In a similar move, the partnership between General Motors and ride-hailing service Lyft is already preparing a trial run of self-driving ride-hailing vehicles in 2017. And, with reports of Apple being turned down by German automakers BMW and Daimler over data control, it looks like Apple is looking to make the pivot towards the automotive market.
As for now, we may be waiting a while to find out what’s in the cards for Apple and Didi Chuxing. Apple’s Chief Executive Tim Cook said in an interview that he saw opportunities for Apple and Didi Chuxing to collaborate in the future, showing that Apple may be keeping this one close to the chest as the partnership begins to flourish.