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Bike sharing is hot! Didi Chuxing pumps million-dollar investment into ofo

Didi Chuxing, China’s largest ride-hailing platform, on Monday announced that it has invested tens of millions of dollars in China’s bike sharing app, ofo. Armed with these funds, ofo can take the battle against its rival Mobike further.

Founded in 2014 on the campus of Peking University, ofo enables bike sharing in hundreds of China’s universities. This is a huge market, in and of itself. It’s estimated that there were over 73 million college students in China in 2015, according to the Ministry of Education of the PRC.

A user can use a bike by simply inputting the bike plate number into the ofo app. The app charges users according to the usage time, distance, and supply of available bikes. If a user gets his or her bike registered on ofo, the user can ride every available ofo bike for free.

Nearly 70,000 bikes are shared every day on ofo, among over 1.5 million users in 20 cities, according to the company’s figures.

ofo bikes on campus. Photo from Baidu Images.

Didi Chuxing said in its statement that the current investment is “a part of Didi’s open mobility ecosystem strategy. DiDi and ofo will explore strategic cooperation in urban rideshare, including offering quality bike-sharing experience on DiDi’s platform.”

Ofo’s rival is Mobike, a bike maker and bike sharing app that is headquartered in Shanghai. Mobike’s business model is slightly different from ofo’s, in that all Mobikes are produced by the company. It offers bike-sharing services for anyone in the general public, rather than just college students.

As of early September, Mobike has launched over 10,000 bikes in Shanghai, and 2,000 bikes in Beijing. The company in August confirmed that it had received millions of dollars in Series B financing from Panda Capital and Joy Capital.

Mobike in Shanghai. Photo from Baidu Images.

It is rumored that Mobike will soon announce its Series C financing, on the heels of ofo’s financing.

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