Apple took a seat on the board of Chinese ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing weeks after the iPhone-maker invested $1 billion in the firm. This is according to regulatory filings spotted byThe Information, which notes that the board appointment in late June was not disclosed at the time of the investment.
The news shows how serious Apple is about its investment in Didi and its interest in the auto industry. Didi — which is valued at around $35 billion — famously beat Uber out of China, forcing the American company to sell its local business. The two companies had been in a war of attrition, using investors’ money to subsidize cheap rides for customers. Apple throwing its weight behind Didi will certainly have helped the Chinese firm’s cause.
A recent report from Bloomberg also noted that Didi is working on developing its own self-driving cars, just like Uber. This could be of particular interest for Apple given its own much-rumored car project. It’s entirely possible that some years down the line Apple’s $1 billion investment and new board seat could develop into a more involved partnership.
Apple’s mergers and acquisitions chief Adrian Perica will be taking the company’s seat on Didi’s board, alongside Martin Lau (president of Tencent), Lucy Peng (an executive at Alibaba), and Didi president Jean Liu and CEO Cheng Wei. Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is an “observer” of the board after the company sold its Chinese operations to Didi, but unlike the others, has no voting power.