Chinese Uber competitor Didi Chuxing, formerly Didi Kuaiti, on Thursday announced that Apple recently invested $1 billion to become the transportation network's latest big-name strategic partner.
Apple's massive funding contribution is the largest single investment Didi has received, reports Reuters. According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, the company hopes to gain insight on the sometimes complex Chinese market, an area of great importance to future growth.
"We are making the investment for a number of strategic reasons, including a chance to learn more about certain segments of the China market," Cook said. "Of course, we believe it will deliver a strong return for our invested capital over time as well."
The announcement was also reported by The Information's Amir Efrati, who disclosed the development in a tweet earlier today.
Didi currently offers a variety of transportation services in China, including taxi and private car hailing, designated drivers and peer-to-peer products like ride-sharing. In February, The Wall Street Journal reported the Chinese firm was looking to raise a total of $1 billion from investors in a bid to compete against global ride sharing technology powerhouse Uber.
Whereas Uber dominates in established Western markets, Didi controls China, facilitating more than 11 million rides each day. That includes a more than 87 percent share of the private car hailing market. Both companies rely on apps as a main mode of connecting passengers with drivers.
Despite the vote of confidence for an obvious automotive industry player, Cook kept mum on his own company's ambitions in the segment.
"That is what we do today in the car business, so we will have to see what the future holds," Cook said, referring to Apple's CarPlay infotainment platform.
Apple is widely rumored to be developing an ambitious automotive product some believe will result in a branded electric vehicle. Dubbed "Project Titan," the initiative is thought to be a significant undertaking based out of a top-secret facility in California. The most recent rumors claim Apple is looking for real estate in the San Francisco Bay Area suitable for an autonomous car lab and production plant.