Chinese bike-sharing start-up Ofo has raised at least $1bn from investors including ecommerce group Alibaba, the Financial Times reports. The company is valued at $3bn, roughly the same as its bike-sharing rival Mobike with which it dominates the fast-growing market.
Ofo has put 10m dockless bikes on China’s city streets, as well as 100,000 in 19 more countries around the world, including an aggressive push into the UK and US. “Mobike versus Ofo is not just a battle between the two companies, but the whole ecosystem of services that their [respective] backers Tencent and Alibaba have created,” said Xue Yu, analyst at IDC, the research company.
The shared bikes are unlocked and paid for using a smartphone app. Ofo’s app gives priority to Alipay users, the mobile payment platform run by Alibaba’s affiliate Ant Financial, while Mobike pushes Tencent’s WeChat Pay. Earlier this week, Ant Financial also joined a $350m fundraising round for Hellobike, the market’s third biggest start-up by users.