3 Didi se­nior ex­ec­u­tives hired by Ofo

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By FAN FEIFEI fan­feifei@chi­nadaily.com.cn Ouyang Shi­jia con­trib­uted to the story.

Three se­nior ex­ec­u­tives from China’s big­gest ride-hail­ing com­pany Didi Chux­ing have joined Chi­nese bike­shar­ing startup Ofo Inc. The move is seen as an in­di­ca­tion of the strength­en­ing in­flu­ence that Didi is hav­ing on Ofo.

Ofo an­nounced on Wed­nes­day it had named Fu Qiang, a for­mer se­nior vi­cepres­i­dent of Didi, ex­ec­u­tive pres­i­dent of the com­pany. Fu will re­port di­rectly to CEO Dai Wei.

Fu will lever­age his in­dus­try ex­pe­ri­ence to help Ofo im­prove op­er­a­tional ef­fi­ciency and up­grade user ex­pe­ri­ences, the com­pany said in a state­ment.

At the same time, the head of Didi’s open plat­form Nan Shan and di­rec­tor of fi­nance Les­lie Liu have joined Ofo’s mar­ket­ing and fi­nance de­part­ment, fi­nan­cial mag­a­zine Cai­jing re­ported.

Ofo con­firmed that the two se­nior ex­ec­u­tives joined the com­pany, but de­clined to dis­close the po­si­tions they hold.

Didi, as a strate­gic in­vestor in Ofo, said in a state­ment that it is will­ing to pro­vide as­sis­tance to such an ex­cel­lent startup and would con­tinue to help Ofo in cap­i­tal, staffing, tech­nol­ogy and op­er­a­tions in the fu­ture.

The ride-hail­ing gi­ant aims to fur­ther in­te­grate Ofo’s last- mile mo­bil­ity so­lu­tions with its own ride-hail­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties, and has par­tic­i­pated in nearly ev­ery fi­nanc­ing round of Ofo since its first in­vest­ment in Septem­ber 2016.

“Didi has ac­cu­mu­lated rich ex­pe­ri­ence in the car-shar­ing sec­tor, in­clud­ing mar­ket strat­egy, in­vestor re­la­tions man­age­ment and con­sumer be­hav­ior anal­y­sis, which is of guid­ing sig­nif­i­cance for Ofo that is still in a growth phase,” said Wang Xiaofeng, a se­nior an­a­lyst at For­rester Re­search Inc.

Wang said only two to three com­pa­nies could sur­vive in the fierce com­pe­ti­tion. “Users’ ex­pe­ri­ence and their loy­alty to the brand will be­come more im­por­tant to bike-shar­ing com­pa­nies,” the an­a­lyst added.

Ear­lier this month, Ofo raised more than $700 mil­lion in its lat­est round of fi­nanc­ing, which was led by e-com­merce gi­ant Alibaba Group Hold­ing Ltd, Hony Cap­i­tal and CITIC Pri­vate Equity. Other back­ers in­cluded its for­mer in­vestors DST Global and Didi.

Didi re­port­edly owns more than 30 per­cent of Ofo, and two of Ofo’s eight board mem­bers are from Didi. It added Ofo’s ser­vice into its app in April, al­low­ing users to book their bikes di­rectly via the Didi ride-hail­ing app.

Last month, Ofo’s arch ri­val Mo­bike Tech­nol­ogy Co Ltd raised more than $600 mil­lion in its lat­est round of fi­nanc­ing led by ex­ist­ing in­vestor Ten­cent Hold­ings, tak­ing this year’s fund­ing to over $1 bil­lion.

Wang Chenxi, an an­a­lyst at in­ter­net con­sul­tancy Analysys in Bei­jing, said Didi will help Ofo en­hance its op­er­a­tional abil­ity and com­pet­i­tive­ness.

Wang added that Ofo’s per­son­nel ad­just­ment would speed up the reshuf­fle of the in­dus­try and ac­cel­er­ate the pace of com­pe­ti­tion with its big­gest ri­val Mo­bike.

Users’ ex­pe­ri­ence and their loy­alty to the brand will be­come more im­por­tant to bike-shar­ing com­pa­nies.” Wang Xiaofeng, se­nior an­a­lyst at For­rester Re­search Inc

ZOU HONG / CHINA DAILY

A woman tries out an Ofo bike at an in­dus­try expo in Bei­jing ear­lier this month.

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