Alibaba Group may inject tens of millions of dollars into China’s two-wheeler industry leader, Hellobike, according to a recent report by Yicai Media Group.
People familiar with the matter in Alibaba said the company is considering the investment, and an anonymous source from Hellobike confirmed the information, the report said.
Though Hellobike is China’s bike-sharing market leader, the company has expanded its e-bike business, a sector that has even more potential, the Alibaba sources said.
Founded in Shanghai in 2016 by Yang Lei, Hellobike has built transportation services in sectors including shared bicycles and e-bikes, as well as car-pooling. A leader in two-wheeled transportation, Hellobike has helped its users take over 12 billion rides on its vehicles over the past 2.5 years. The company now operates in more than 360 Chinese cities and supports more than 20 million daily rides.
In China, it is estimated that riders make around 200 million bicycle trips each day. E-bikes are in much higher demand, however, as people take over 700 million daily rides.
Hellobike has continued to strengthen its two-wheeled vehicle business. On June 12, the company announced the launch of a RMB 1 billion (USD145 million) joint venture with CATL Battery and Ant Financial, which aims to build e-bike battery infrastructure.
From a financing perspective, Hellobike is one of China’s fast-growing startups and boasts sufficient funding to fuel its expansion. It raised about 4 billion RMB in its latest financing round which closed last December. From the beginning, Hellobike has received investments from notable financial players including Primavera Capital, Fosun Group, and GGV. Hellobike also linked up with Alibaba-affliated Ant Financial in December 2017, when the latter joined a USD350 million series D1 round with Primavera Capital. Last June, Ant Financial invested another RMB2 billion in Hellobike. Ant Financial expects investments in Hellobike to yield high returns and greatly respects the company’s management team.
Analysts say Alibaba is considering investing in Hellobike to further support its own parcel and food delivery businesses which are heavily reliant on e-bikes.