Ofo, a Beijing-based bike sharing startup, last month partnered with China’s smart bicycle maker 700Bike. A leak on local social networks suggested that 700Bike is to launch a customized sharing bike for ofo.
Ofo, founded in 2014, confirmed to AllChinaTech that “the 700Bike is one of our efforts to meet diverse customer demand. It is only a small part of the partnership.” They said that more details will be forthcoming, and that “more bike companies will be connected to ofo’s platform.”
It is worth mentioning that unlike the current ofo bikes, this new model will have an embedded GPS system.
Industry insiders say that for its part, 700Bike will receive traffic support from ofo, whose registered users reach two million people, across 21 cities. 700Bike, with its advanced technology and bike design, will help ofo in bike R&D, as well as smart bike data.
Ofo CEO, Dai Wei, said that ofo doesn’t produce bikes: it connects them.
Ever since last month, ofo initiated a trial plan to recycle used bikes, starting in Beijing and Shanghai. In return, bike owners will be paid with either cash or free ofo bike usage for a fixed term. ofo will collect the bikes, repair and service them, add a lock, and then distribute them for use around various cities.
Its goal is to connect one million bikes by the end of this year. So far, there are 200,000 bikes on its platform.
Ofo is in an ongoing struggle with a slew of bike sharing companies, including its main rival, Mobike. Ofo has raised tens of millions of dollars in financing from investors, among them China’s largest ride-hailing platform Didi Chuxing.
In late this year, bike sharing has taken China by storm. Ofo’s rival Mobike raised USD 100 million financing. On top of that, some latecomers – including Xiaoming Danche and Bluegogo – copied the business model and launched their own bike sharing apps.
(Top photo from Baidu Images)