The Chinese ride sharing service Didi Chuxing, who last month bought Uber’s operations in the country, have announced an investment of “tens of millions of dollars” in a bike sharing platform.
Looking to expand and offer their customers more than just on-demand rides in cars, the company have invested in Peking start-up ofo, who specialise in bike sharing.
It’s now expected that Didi will include cycling options on their app as part of their ongoing plans to offer ‘a full transport ecosystem’. In recent years China has seen a decline in cycling as its middle classes turned more to private cars. However, congestion in cities and a rising trend in health consciousness has seen it begin to increase in busy cities and towns.
ofo, named as such because the text resembles a bike, was a student start-up project at Peking University launched two years ago. Users of the platform can book bicycles for 0.5 yuan a ride (that’s about 6p!), and now ofo has become China’s largest bike sharing company.
The bike sharing start-up currently has presence in 20 cities across China, with 70,000 bikes used daily between 1.5m members. The company capitalised on university campuses and areas where public transport options were low, quickly growing and overtaking other similar start-ups such as Mobike, who are headquartered in Shanghai.
Didi has the technology infrastructure to support any kind of service that requires logistical organisation, and it already offers taxis, car rental, bus services, chauffeurs, and more — and now bikes!
A spokesperson for Didi said “Didi and ofo will explore strategic cooperation in urban rideshare, including offering quality bike-sharing experience on Didi’s platform,” confirming that the company has elected to invest rather than buy, at present.
This investment comes just a month after the company acquired Uber’s Chinese operations in a $35bn deal, and Apple invested $1bn in the ride sharers.
Have you heard of Didi Chuxing, or ofo? Do you see a similar merge of services happening in the UK? Let us know your thoughts – either in the comments below or at @Liftshare!
Author Lex Barber