Apple’s Investment In Didi Chuxing Gets It A Board Seat

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Apple made a huge investment of $1 billion in Chinese ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing, following which it got a seat on the Chinese company’s board, according to The Information. Originally, it was believed that no board seat was granted to Apple as part of the deal, but a board appointment happened in late June, according to regulatory filings.

Reinforcing the gravity of AAPL investment

Adrian Perica, head of mergers and acquisitions at Apple, represents the U.S. firm on Didi Chuxing’s board. Perica, formerly an investment banker with Goldman Sachs, has been with Apple since 2009 and handled key acquisitions like Beats.

The board appointment reinforces the gravity of Apple’s investment, which in turn influenced Uber’s decision to sell its China operations to Didi at the end of July. Didi had a large lead in market share, but Uber believed it wouldn’t be possible for Didi to keep raising capital. Though not the deciding factor, Apple’s investment left Uber CEO Travis Kalanick personally disappointed, said The Information, citing people close to him.

Didi Chuxing, popularly known as the “Uber of China,” is the most popular ride sharing service there. Apple’s investment in Didi Chuxing in May came amid numerous rumors that the U.S. firm is developing an electric car. It was the first investment of its kind from Apple and could help it with access to data and expertise on both electric and autonomous car technology, says MacRumors.

Apple opening R&D center in China

Deepening its Chinese connection, on Wednesday, Apple revealed plans of setting up a research and development center in Shenzhen, China’s manufacturing metropolis. China is the world’s second largest economy and Apple seeks to spur growth there ascompetition is getting more intense, notes Reuters.

Apple CEO Tim Cook announced the plan at a meeting with senior officials from the southern Chinese city. Cook was there to attend a nationwide innovation event, according to the Shenzhen Economic Daily.

“The Shenzhen center, along with the Beijing center, is also aimed at strengthening relationships with local partners and universities as we work to support talent development across the country,” the U.S. firm said.

With such investments, Apple is trying hard to bounce back in China. Local Chinese manufacturers such as Vivo, Huawei Technologies and Oppo have snatched market share from the iPhone maker.

On Tuesday, Apple shares closed up 0.22% at $116.30. Year to date, the stock is up more than 8%, while in the last year, it is up almost 4%.

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