Apple CEO Tim Cook recently visited China for promotional activities where he took a ride with Uber’s major competitor. Cook rode with Didi Chuxing – a company in which Apple made a huge investment of $1 billion last week.
Apple CEO promotes Didi Chuxing
Cook went to meet a panel of Chinese app developers at the Apple Store in Wangfujing, Beijing in a car with Didi Chuxing President Jean Liu.
“Taxi! Caught a cab in Beijing this morning with Didi Chuxing’s Jean Liu,” tweeted Cook.
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On Monday, Cook said, “Apple invested in Didi last week. We are very proud of that investment. Didi has 14 million drivers, 300 million users, actually 300 million and one now, because Jean and I took a Didi ride here this morning.”
Stifel analyst George Askew said Didi Chuxing is the largest taxi-hailing app in China and is probably five times the size of Uber in China. In a research note last week, Askew stated that this investment is the first of many transactions in which Apple uses its checkbook to acquire minority stakes in interesting mobile products and services in China.
The service was earlier known as Didi Kuaidi. A company representative explained that “Didi” refers to the sound of a car horn, while “Chuxing” means “mobility” in Chinese. “Kuaidi” is a combination of the Chinese characters for “taxi” and “quick,” says Venture Beat.
Asia: the next growth engine
Last month, Apple reported its first-ever revenue and iPhone sales decline, and Asia could prove to be a promising market for the company to make its future bright. Also the U.S. firm approached the Indian government for permission to sell refurbished iPhones in the country.
Barry Bosworth of the Brookings Institute said in comparison to saturated and slow-growing markets in Europe and the United States, both India and China are extraordinarily large and fast-growing. Asia offers the most opportunities as an economic region to consumer-based firms, the expert says.
Apple’s strategy of creating a positive image in those markets is a smart one as it already is an Asian firm on the production side. The author of The Brave New World: India, China and the United States, Anja Manuel, says Apple is right to make India a real focus. Manuel notes that the number of smartphone users in India is almost the same as in the U.S., but this will go up by the end of 2016.