Tech giant Apple is preparing to invest $3.6 billion (£2.65 billion) in Kia Motors to start building its own fleet of electric cars, according to a report in a Korean newspaper.
Shares in the South Korean car company soared by as much as 14.5% immediately following the news, first reported by The Dong-a Ilbo, a Seoul based broadsheet and is one of Korea's most-read publications.
After the initial jump, Kia's stock price ended up closing up 9.7% in Seoul on Wednesday (Feb 4), the manufacturer's highest share price since August 1998.
In a boost for new US President Biden and his administration, the report added that Apple and Kia are planning to manufacture the vehicles at Kia's facility in the US state of Georgia, with the cars hitting the market by 2024.
According to CNN, Kia and parent company Hyundai both declined to comment on Wednesday, whilst Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Apple is said to have an initial target of producing 100,000 cars a year, according to a report by Bloomberg, and the full annual production run of the proposed plant could ramp up to 400,000 vehicles a year, adding that a deal could be signed as soon as February 17.
The deal with Apple, if true, wouldn't be the Korean manufacturer's first foray into a tech partnership, as Hyundai is also working with Chinese search giant Baidu and US computer chipmaker Nvidia, with regards to developing autonomous driving technology in their fleet.
Alongside those existing tech partnerships, Hyundai and Apple already work together on CarPlay, Apple's in-car software for connecting iPhones to vehicles.
The Apple-Kia news comes shortly after Ford recently released a statement saying they had formed a partnership with Alphabet, Google's parent company, to install Android operating systems in the majority of their vehicles from 2023.
According to Ford, their collaboration with Google would assist US the automaker with modernising its manufacturing processes, developing new ways of purchasing cars, helping manage its supply chain and developing in-car apps.