Apple's $1 Billion Investment in Didi Chuxing Aligned With Electric Vehicle Plans

Didi-ChuxingApple announced yesterday that it has invested $1 billion in Chinese ride-sharing service Didi Chuxing, but CEO Tim Cook refused to elaborate on the reasoning behind the move, beyond saying that it will help the company better understand the Chinese market and "deliver a strong return" on its invested capital over the long term.

Nevertheless, a pair of new reports suggest that Apple's ambitions behind its investment in the Uber rival could relate to its oft-rumored electric vehicle plans and broader push into the automotive industry.

The Wall Street Journal wrote that Didi Chuxing is "not only an important ally in a key market, but also a rich data source for self-driving vehicles," which is valuable to Apple amid rumors that it is developing its own electric and possibly autonomous vehicle.

Didi provides Apple with a rich data source for its self-driving vehicle push. It also could provide benefits to Apple’s mobile ecosystem. Ride-sharing apps are closely linked to payment services, such as Apple Pay. They also can be the foundation for other mobile commerce transactions such as deliveries.

The investment sets up with a potential showdown of firms aligned with Uber, which has taken investments from Alphabet Inc.’s venture capital arm and Chinese search giant Baidu. Both Alphabet and Baidu have invested heavily in autonomous driving technology.

The Information reported that ride-sharing services like Didi Chuxing and Uber are highly interested in self-driving vehicles, which would reduce overhead costs by eliminating the need for contracted drivers. In fact, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick was reportedly planning to meet at Apple headquarters this week to "talk about future partnership opportunities," but the status of that meeting remains unknown.

This deal isn’t about the Didi service today. It establishes a future alliance around tech like self-driving cars, where Apple and Google are going head-to-head. Developing autonomous vehicles is the end game for these ride sharing companies—the move that will help them mint money by cutting out the cost of drivers. Uber has made big investments on that front, as has its partner Baidu. Didi had not. But Apple […] can help.

The so-called Apple Car, allegedly known as Project Titan internally, could launch by 2020. The bulk of research and development may be centered in the Santa Clara Valley area, near Apple's existing Cupertino headquarters, led by a team that includes former Tesla, Ford, and GM employees and other automotive experts. The vehicle is expected to compete with the likes of Tesla and Google.

Related Roundup: Apple Car

Top Rated Comments

Johnny907 Avatar
83 months ago
Remember after Steve was fired from Apple, they started dabbling into really weird niche products that had nothing to do with their core business and sales across the board began to tank due to lack of updates/innovation in the products that actually made money thus crippling the company revenue?
I look at the numbers for iPhones and Mac's going down year over year, stories like this one indicating more and more capital and resources being diverted from core product R&D into this "Apple Car," and I can't help but get a chilling sense of deja vu.
Score: 35 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Reds622 Avatar
83 months ago
Remember after Steve was fired from Apple, they started dabbling into really weird niche products that had nothing to do with their core business and sales across the board began to tank due to lack of updates/innovation in the products that actually made money thus crippling the company revenue?
I look at the numbers for iPhones and Mac's going down year over year, stories like this one indicating more and more capital and resources being diverted from core product R&D into this "Apple Car," and I can't help but get a chilling sense of deja vu.
Does it make it even worse that Tim Cook is trying to align and integrate the company on a substantial level with a communist government with a terrible human rights record?

Seems to me that Tim Cook has taken for granted the market that has turned the company into what it has become, the United States, because he feels beholden to the market to keep searching for higher and higher returns. But instead of focusing on innovation through the pipeline, and continuing to focus on what has made Apple great, he's been looking for short term solutions by focusing so heavily on emerging markets. And I'm not saying that trying to capitalize on countries like China and India should not be a focus, but to do so in a way that I feel is detrimental to the long term interests of the company is short sighted and could be a costly mistake. If US consumers start to feel that Apple is prioritizing Chineze business over America interests because it is a "bigger" market with more growth potential, then they are going to start looking elsewhere. And if US consumers start to go elsewhere, then the shine of Apple begins to wear off and it could be crippling on its business worldwide. Now, obviously a worst case scenario, but I don't like the direction Cook is taking the company, and haven't for a while now (see fashion wearables, multiple color computers, low power computers, increasing share buybacks, etc.). A little worrisome.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Jakexb Avatar
83 months ago
Remember after Steve was fired from Apple, they started dabbling into really weird niche products that had nothing to do with their core business and sales across the board began to tank due to lack of updates/innovation in the products that actually made money thus crippling the company revenue?
I look at the numbers for iPhones and Mac's going down year over year, stories like this one indicating more and more capital and resources being diverted from core product R&D into this "Apple Car," and I can't help but get a chilling sense of deja vu.
People said that about the iPhone. There were computers and there were phones -- and the two worlds were entirely separate. Not a core business at all.

Apple is a company that is really good at using industrial design + engineering to create consumer products. They are trying to learn how to get better at software services. In some ways, I'd say the software services are more of a stretch for Apple than a car, which seems perfectly aligned with their strengths in industrial design, engineering, and manufacturing.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rogifan Avatar
83 months ago
Remember after Steve was fired from Apple, they started dabbling into really weird niche products that had nothing to do with their core business and sales across the board began to tank due to lack of updates/innovation in the products that actually made money thus crippling the company revenue?
I look at the numbers for iPhones and Mac's going down year over year, stories like this one indicating more and more capital and resources being diverted from core product R&D into this "Apple Car," and I can't help but get a chilling sense of deja vu.
So what do you think Apple should be working on for the future? Smartphones and laptops are pretty mature at this point. I don't think autonomous vehicles are weird or niche. Not part of Apple's core business now but their core business is pretty mature with not a ton of growth prospects. if all Apple can ever be is a company that makes phones and laptops/desktops then I don't think the future is very bright.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ctyrider Avatar
83 months ago
The problem I have is that Apple essentially just caved to the Chinese Government and invested in the Chinese over the American tech sector.
To be fair - you have no idea of Apple's reasoning behind the deal.. Or what did or didn't happen behind the scenes. So your assertion of Apple "caving in" to Chinese government is completely baseless.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Nunyabinez Avatar
83 months ago
Remember after Steve was fired from Apple, they started dabbling into really weird niche products that had nothing to do with their core business and sales across the board began to tank due to lack of updates/innovation in the products that actually made money thus crippling the company revenue?
I look at the numbers for iPhones and Mac's going down year over year, stories like this one indicating more and more capital and resources being diverted from core product R&D into this "Apple Car," and I can't help but get a chilling sense of deja vu.
Where do you see the numbers going down? I think you are confusing growth with volume.


Does that look like going down to anyone?
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iphone 14 pro max vs 13 max 2

Camera Comparison: iPhone 14 Pro Max vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max

Thursday September 29, 2022 7:44 am PDT by
The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max introduce some major improvements in camera technology, adding a 48-megapixel lens and low-light improvements across all lenses with the new Photonic Engine. We've spent the last week working on an in-depth comparison that pits the new iPhone 14 Pro Max against the prior-generation iPhone 13 Pro Max to see just how much better the iPhone 14 Pro Max can be. Subscrib ...
tony blevins car

Apple Procurement VP Departs Company After Vulgar TikTok Comment

Thursday September 29, 2022 12:38 pm PDT by
Tony Blevins, Apple's vice president of procurement, is set to depart the company after he made a crude comment about his profession in a recent TikTok video, reports Bloomberg. Blevins was in a video by TikTok creator Daniel Mac, who was doing a series on the jobs of people he spotted with expensive cars. After seeing Blevins in an expensive Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, Mac asked Blevins what ...
Dark Sky App Featured

Dark Sky Removed From iOS App Store Ahead of Upcoming Shutdown

Wednesday September 28, 2022 4:27 pm PDT by
The Dark Sky weather app that's owned by Apple is no longer available for download in the U.S. App Store, suggesting that it has been removed ahead of schedule. Apple acquired Dark Sky back in March 2020 and has since incorporated elements of the app into the Weather app available on the iPhone (and soon, the iPad). Dark Sky remained available for purchase as a standalone weather app...
adaptive transparency airpods pro

iOS 16.1 Beta Brings Adaptive Transparency to Original AirPods Pro

Thursday September 29, 2022 1:08 pm PDT by
The third beta of iOS 16.1 that was released earlier this week expands the Adaptive Transparency feature introduced with the second-generation AirPods Pro to the original AirPods Pro. As noted on Reddit, first-generation AirPods Pro owners who also have the AirPods beta software will now see an "Adaptive Transparency" toggle in the AirPods section of the Settings app. The 5A304A beta...
tim cook malala

Tim Cook: Not Too Long From Now, You'll Wonder How You Led Your Life Without AR

Thursday September 29, 2022 7:26 am PDT by
Speaking at Università Degli Studi di Napoli Federico II in Naples, Italy, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that not too long from today, people will wonder how they led a life without augmented reality, stressing the "profound" impact it will have on the not so distant future. At the university, Cook was awarded an Honorary Degree in Innovation and International Management and also sat down for a...
iOS 16 Wallpaper Spectrum Feature

Five Wallpaper Apps to Check Out for iOS 16's New Lock Screen Depth Effect

Thursday September 29, 2022 9:08 am PDT by
One of the biggest new features in iOS 16 is a completely redesigned iPhone Lock Screen. The new Lock Screen is entirely customizable, letting you change the colors and fonts, add widgets and new wallpapers, and more to make your iPhone uniquely yours. Of course, even before iOS 16, you could customize your Lock Screen with a wallpaper of your choice. iOS 16 takes the Lock Screen wallpaper...
maxresdefault

Apple Responds to Video Testing Crash Detection Feature With Junkyard Vehicles

Friday September 30, 2022 9:11 am PDT by
The Wall Street Journal's Joanna Stern recently traveled to Michigan to test Apple's new crash detection feature on the iPhone 14 and Apple Watch Ultra. In response, Apple provided some additional information about how the feature works. Stern recruited Michael Barabe to crash his demolition derby car with a heavy-duty steel frame into two unoccupied vehicles parked in a junkyard — a 2003...
iphone 14 iphone 14 plus in hand feature

iPhone 14 Is Secretly Hiding a Beloved Mac Feature

Friday September 30, 2022 3:24 am PDT by
The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models bring over a longstanding Mac feature, but the setting to enable it is off by default. The feature, which is actually a new accessibility option, allows the iPhone to play a startup chime like the Mac. When enabled, the sound comes alongside a new shutdown chime. The Mac has featured a startup chime since 1987's Macintosh II, and the iconic "bong"...
Hero0005

Best Apple Deals of the Week: M2 MacBook Air Hits New All-Time Low Price at $1,049, Plus Sales on AirPods Pro and More

Friday September 30, 2022 9:05 am PDT by
This week's best Apple deals focus on the AirPods Pro, AirPods Pro 2, and M2 MacBook Air, including numerous all-time low prices on these devices. You'll also find up to 50 percent off discounts on Anker and Eufy accessories on Amazon. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us...
iPhone 15 to Switch From Lightning to USB C in 2023 feature sans arrow

Kuo: iPhone 14 Pro Max Popularity Could Lead to More Differentiation Between iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max

Wednesday September 28, 2022 10:22 am PDT by
Apple has seen high demand for the 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Pro Max, which could lead the company to further differentiate the next-generation iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Apple could add exclusive features to the iPhone 15 Pro Max in an effort to encourage more people to purchase the larger and more expensive device. Kuo last week said that Apple asked...