Ofo bike shar­ing goes on world-wide ex­pan­sion spree

The Star Early Edition - - OPINION & ANALYSIS -

LEAD­ING Chi­nese bike-shar­ing start-up ofo an­nounced yes­ter­day that it has raised more than $700 mil­lion (R9.3 bil­lion) in its lat­est round of fund­ing, the largest so far for the rapidly grow­ing in­dus­try. Ma­jor in­vestors in­clude Alibaba, Hony Cap­i­tal, Citic Pri­vate Equity Funds Man­age­ment, Didi Chux­ing, and DST In­vest­ment Man­age­ment, Bei­jing-based ofo said.

The com­pany’s founder and chief ex­ec­u­tive, Dai Wei, said ofo will im­prove its cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence and ac­cel­er­ate ex­pan­sion both in China and abroad to make ofo a world­wide brand.

Founded in 2015, ofo shot to suc­cess with its in­no­va­tive busi­ness model pro­vid­ing non-dock­ing pub­lic bikes. Users can find a bike parked in the street, un­lock it us­ing a code via their mo­bile phone, and park it any­where after use.

The com­pany said it now has 6.5 mil­lion shared bikes in 150 cities across five coun­tries and re­gions, han­dling an av­er­age 25 mil­lion rides a day. It aims to ex­pand that to 20 mil­lion bikes in 200 cities across 20 coun­tries and re­gions by the end of 2017.

China’s bike shar­ing mar­ket has be­come a red-hot in­vest­ment op­por­tu­nity.

Within around two years, more than 20 mil­lion shared bikes have ap­peared on streets across the coun­try, op­er­ated by more than 40 com­pa­nies. – Xin­hua

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