Apple's Ride-Sharing Investment In China Puts It In Competition With Uber

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BEIJING -- Apple Inc. has invested $1 billion in Chinese ride-hailing service Didi Chuxing, the main competitor in China for Uber Technologies Ltd.

Apple will become a strategic investor alongside Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group and Tencent Holdings Ltd., an online games and entertainment service, Didi Chuxing announced Friday.

China's ride-hailing industry has grown rapidly, with competitors spending heavily to subsidize rides to capture market share.

didi chuxing apple
A mobile device displaying the Didi Chuxing app is posed near the Apple store logo in Beijing, China, Friday, May 13, 2016. Apple Inc. has invested $1 billion in Chinese ride-hailing service Didi Chuxing, the main competitor in China for Uber Technologies Ltd. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

The latest deal reflects Apple's increased emphasis on services as growth in its iPhone business slows, said Jack Kent of IHS Technology in a report.

"The investment in Didi highlights the strategic importance of China and the services segment for Apple's future strategy,'' Kent said. "It could help Apple gain greater insight into the behaviour of users beyond its own ecosystem.''

Didi Chuxing, previously Didi Kuaidi, operates in 400 Chinese cities.

In September, the company and Lyft of the United States agreed to link their services to allow travellers to use them in each other's markets. In December, their alliance added India's Ola and Southeast Asia's GrabTaxi.

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