Bike-sharing start-up Ofo raises $866 million

Elias Hubbard
March 13, 2018

Chinese dockless bike-sharing unicorn ofo has raised fresh funding of $866 million in a round led by Alibaba Group.

It is also fighting to increase its market share in China, where it is competing against its local rival Mobike - backed by another Chinese internet giant, Tencent.

Bike sharing giant Ofo has been given $280 million in two loans from affiliates of global trade giant Alibaba, according to reports in the far east.

So far Ofo has introduced 1,250 bikes into London but said it is ultimately targeting 150,000 bikes across the city, compared with the 12,000 bikes now available under the official Santander-sponsored "Boris Bike" scheme.

Stockport is to get the first of 1,000 orange-and-silver Mobikes rolled out yesterday after the company said its initial scheme in Manchester was a success. The strategic financing presents the highest funding record in the bicycle-sharing industry, ofo said in a statement.

"There was a big spike in vandalism when we first launched, which is sad, but that tailed off at the back end of a year ago", Mobike UK general manager Steve Pyer said.

The bikes are unlocked using an app and cost as little as one yuan (US$0.15) an hour.

But as of December, Caixin learned from sources close to the matter that the merger plan was suspended due to opposition from both management teams, who were concerned that any deal would grant Didi, which has a 25% stake in Ofo, greater control of the new company.

Currently, ofo operates in over 250 cities across 21 countries alongside widespread usage by over 200 million global users with more than 6 billion rides, totaling to 32 million rides per day.

Leeds will become the next big city in line for the yellow Ofo bikes, with a launch expected in spring.

Ofo in January introduced 1,000 bikes in Sheffield and said the uptake has exceeded expectations.

In the past few months, ofo has made its presence strongly felt in India.

Sheffield councillor Jack Scott said: "I am delighted with the impact Ofo is having". New York's Citi Bike, with 10,000 bikes and 236,000 subscribers, is the largest players in the US.

"Our station-free, bike-sharing concept has improved the transportation in cities across the world".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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