The big news out of the tech world is that Apple has invested $1 billion in Didi Chuxing, the no. 1 ride-hailing player in China. The investment is a significant one, particularly for Apple, whose fortunes in the Middle Kingdom have recently taken a turn for the worse. Aligning itself with Didi—and, by extension, Beijing—could help Apple regain its footing. As Josh Horwitz explained in Quartz earlier:
Apple’s investment in Didi against Uber is a symbolic appeasement. It’s a bet on the government’s preferred horse, in a competition that ranks alongside Baidu’s fight with Google and Alibaba’s war with Amazon.
… the investment could mark the first in a series of Apple investments in Chinese tech companies. If Apple can’t popularize Apple TV alone in China, perhaps it will work with Alibaba or LeEco, two Chinese companies working to become leaders in online entertainment. If it can’t bring Apple Music to the Middle Kingdom, perhaps it can find a partner in Tencent’s QQ Music.
Meanwhile, here’s what Uber CEO Travis Kalanick had to say about all of this.
Smh, for the uninitiated, is shorthand for “shaking my head.” Kalanick’s girlfriend is Gabi Holzwarth, a professional violinist.
In related news, the Information reported (paywall) that Kalanick was planning a meeting at Apple’s headquarters this week to discuss “future partnership opportunities.”