Apple Inc. – two months back – invested about $1 billion in Didi – a dominant Chinese ride-sharing company. That move has now made Apple a part-owner of Uber as Didi has invested $1 billion in Uber. What’s good for the US firm is, it now has stakes in the two biggest ride-sharing firms globally.
Didi buys Uber’s China assets
As per Bloomberg, Didi has acquired Uber’s operations in the country, giving Uber and its investors a 20 percent stake in the Chinese firm. As a part of the deal, Didi has also invested $1bn in Uber. Both – Didi and Uber – have been losing money in China as they compete each other for more market share. Uber’s investors have been demanding the company to sell its China operations to focus on other potential opportunities. Citing people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg says Uber has lost over $2 billion in China while it has been profitable in the developed markets.
Previously, Didi bought another Chinese firm – Kuaidi, to better compete with Uber, and already holds over 87% of the market. When Apple invested in Didi, it was valued at $28bn. After the Uber deal, its valuation is expected to be around $35 billion.
To help Apple, and its car project
All these investments will come in handy for Bob Mansfield, who is reportedly heading Apple’s secretive car project – Project Titan. Though the project still remains a secret, it is largely believed to be an electric vehicle with some autonomous driving capabilities. The US firm has never admitted developing a car, but it is known to have recruited hundreds of people with auto experience to work on autonomous driving, batteries and other related features.
At the time of investment, Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook said the investment serves strategic and financial purpose, giving Apple a chance to explore more of certain segments of the Chinese market. As per the WSJ, release date for Apple’s car has been postponed to 2021 from the initial target of 2019.
Good for Uber, and its boss
Uber, which is developing its own mapping technology – costing $500 million, will need all the cash and high-tech backing that it can get. It is also trying to lower its dependence on Google’s maps. So, a connection with Apple, which also has its own map tech, could help Uber. Google (via its venture-capital arm Google Ventures) is also an investor in the ride-sharing firm.
Now, Uber boss Travis Kalanick could also settle a grievance with his girlfriend. He was not very happy when she indirectly become a Didi investor after acquiring Apple Inc. stock in May. Kalanick, publicly bemoaned this fact in a tweet. The recent transactions between the ride-sharing firms, indicates that she now owns some part of Kalanick’s company, too.