Apple’s $1B bet on Chinese ride sharing just grew to $3.45B

Didi Chuxing was valued at $20 billion in 2016 when Apple invested $1 billion in the company.

From the New York Times’ “Didi, the Chinese Ride-Hailing Giant, Makes Its Debut on Wall Street” posted Thursday:

Didi, the leading Chinese ride-hailing platform, made its Wall Street debut on Wednesday, capping a year in which ride-hailing and travel companies have struggled to overcome intermittent pandemic lockdowns.

Didi began trading at $16.82 a share on the New York Stock Exchange, up 20 percent from a $14-a-share offering price. But investor interest cooled throughout the day, and Didi closed at $14.20, pegging the company’s value at more than $69 billion.

My take: Smart investment.

Better take (from FOB Robert Stack): Didi Cha-Ching.

See also: Apple’s $1 billion in Didi: What analysts are saying

15 Comments

  1. Ken Cheng said:
    For whatever reason Apple invested $1B into Didi, 5 yrs ago, it was always going to be a great investment. Gaining intelligence in the automotive ride-hailing business, using some of that excess foreign-cash, and solidifying relationships with the government are all icing on the cake. Or, vice-versa. It’s all good.

    6
    July 1, 2021
  2. Robert Stack said:
    PED’s take: Smart investment.
    My take: Perhaps Didi Cha Ching instead of Didi Chuxing?

    1
    July 1, 2021
  3. Fred Stein said:
    Link goes to NYT article.

    0
    July 1, 2021
  4. Fred Stein said:
    Yes, smart investment, $20B goes to about $70B in five years

    Around the same time Apple bought AAPL which went from about $25/share to about $136/share. Better deal.

    10
    July 1, 2021
    • Gregg Thurman said:
      Around the same time Apple bought AAPL which went from about $25/share to about $136/share. Better deal.

      Not the way Apple thinks. My gut tells me that with Apple’s investment it got to test its auto-drive system on hundreds (if not thousands) of vehicles, outside of US government oversight/control, on ancient, twisty, congested roads/grids.

      Now imagine the improvements, in that environment, in auto-drive systems without governmental interference over a five year period.

      Apple doesn’t release products until they are ready.

      Autonomous vehicles are going to need a lot more ‘ready’ than usual, before Apple announces/releases Titan, but when Apple does, Titan will be far superior/SAFER than competing products.

      The biggest differentiator, when it comes to autonomous driving vehicle buying decisions, is going to be safety ranking. Will anybody want to buy ranking #2 or #3, when #1 is just a few thousand $ more (and includes CarPlay)?

      2
      July 1, 2021
      • David Emery said:
        I believe determining the safety of autonomous driving systems is a huge question mark. We have neither the experience nor the infrastructure for autonomous vehicles that we have for aviation. (And even with the maturity of that international system, the 737 MAX debacle shows it’s still not foolproof.)

        So I can see an evolving regulatory framework, and we can hope that Apple’s approach will be consistent with that framework’s requirements.

        (I’m speaking here from my understanding of commercial avionic software safety approaches, particularly the requirements for DO-178b/DO-178c.)

        1
        July 1, 2021
        • Gregg Thurman said:
          Thanks for your input David.

          I’m thinking accidents per autonomous miles driven.

          It’s software, it can report autonomous miles driven and catastrophic events incurred. Should be easy for a regulatory body to collect the data by manufacturer and construct safety rankings.

          0
          July 1, 2021
          • David Emery said:
            Commercial avionics safety sets a specific goal, probability of a fatal/lost aircraft accident 1 in 10 ^ -9, 1/1,000,000,000 (For military aircraft, it’s less strenuous, I think 1/1,000,000) Part of the issue is we don’t have an equivalent target/expectation for autonomous or driver assist systems. If the accident rate across autonomous vehicles is 1/1,000 and Apple reaches 1/2,000, that’s “twice as good as average” but still -really poor-. So without a clear goal, we don’t have a strong basis for evaluating how well (or poorly) we’re achieving that goal. As important, we don’t have a good way to evaluate the cost/benefits of engineering and verification approaches to demonstrate we can meet that goal. (Cost of verifying 777 software was in the $billions, I believe.)

            0
            July 1, 2021
            • Bart Yee said:
              @David Is that accident rate goal ONLY for the time the aircraft is under automated / autonomous control, ie autopilot? Does it include landings and takeoffs, traditionally the most risky flight envelopes?

              The major difference I see here for EV / ICE automobiles is the level of training, attentiveness, and relative response time of taking back manual control by the PIC/DIC, ie Pilot or Driver in command. Obviously, pilots are (mostly) much more professional about their jobs than most drivers and have very set tasks, routines, and learned/trained responses to emergencies, plus troubleshooting events. And they have a backup in the copilot and ATC.

              Automobile and heavy truck drivers have none of the above in a ground based autonomous situation and in emergent situations may have just seconds to react or take control, not knowing if the autonomous system is going to work or not. Blind trust In autonomous driving system is just that, blind and trusting.

              0
              July 1, 2021
              • David Emery said:
                Bart, that figure is for total flight. It is not restricted to autonomous automation. Part of the rules is for for high consequence hazards (i.e. crashes) is for redundant systems. That includes ‘human in the loop’, but the preference is to prevent the need for the human to take control.

                I think we need such standards even for non-autonomous vehicles. As cars become more “computers moving down the road”, the need for a comprehensive approach to safety is growing. The Toyota ‘unanticipated and uncommanded acceleration” incident is a great example why more comprehensive approaches for specification, development, verification and accreditation is needed. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sudden_unintended_acceleration

                0
                July 1, 2021
            • Gregg Thurman said:
              So without a clear goal, we don’t have a strong basis for evaluating how well (or poorly) we’re achieving that goal.

              It all comes down to historical data. I wonder how much data Didi has gathered in the last 5 years, or how much the NTSA has collected. There have been articles in the last few years that have described the current autonomous vehicles as being safer than human-controlled vehicles. The standard used in the articles was accidents per million miles driven. The NTSA probably has tons of data involving human-operated vehicles. I would think an autonomous standard would start with human-operated data as a baseline.

              0
              July 1, 2021
      • Michael Goldfeder said:
        @Gregg Thurman:

        That’s exactly what has been going on away from anyone other than Apple and it’s engineers. While everyone has been making derogatory comments about Apple’s entry into the autonomous driving market, now it appears that they will be more than ready to get a product out into the real world. What’s even more ironic is that Apple made billions while conducting all these “road tests” with DiDi.

        1
        July 1, 2021
        • Gregg Thurman said:
          Seems logical, doesn’t it.

          Media pundits reporting are greatly hampered by their collective “man bites dog” mentality. So much so, they can’t see what a firm’s actions could really be about.

          0
          July 1, 2021
  5. Driving through my packed island off the coast, now filled with beach goers, bicyclists and gargantuan SUV’s, I can tell you a safe, totally autonomous car is years off. Skateboards, drone, a diamondback turtle migration & subcontractors by the score thwart any progress. But automating & electrifying mining & other contained trucks makes sense. Commercial aircraft have flown autopilot for decades. AEV’s coming but I’m not ready to make out on the back seat while Siri drives, in Sea Isle City at least.

    0
    July 2, 2021

Leave a Reply