Alibaba affiliates inject $280m in bike sharing firm Ofo – Report

Image: Ofo website

Alibaba has injected a total of Rmb1.77 billion ($280 million) in Chinese bicycle sharing firm Ofo in two separate deals carried out by its subsidiaries in February, according to a report by Chinese news site The Paper.

In early February, Shanghai Yunxin Venture Capital, a unit of Alibaba’s fintech arm Ant Financial, injected Rmb500 million ($80 million) into Ofo that pledged 4.45 million bikes in Beijing, Shenzhen, Shanghai, and Guangzhou in return.

On February 12, Ofo again entered into a mortgage agreement with Alibaba through Zheejiang Tmall Network. The bike-sharing firm received Rmb1.27 billion ($200 million) by mortgaging a certain amount of bicycles.

The report, however, noted that Ofo has not officially announced the new round of financing yet “because the major shareholder has not signed the agreement yet”.

Since last year, Ofo has been frequently reported to have received a new round of financing, worth about $1 billion. The financing, however, has not yet been officially confirmed.

If the Alibaba deal pushes through, the financing will solve the needs of the bike-sharing company, according to sources quoted by the report.

Beijing-based Ofo operates over 10 million yellow-coloured bicycles in 250 cities and 20 countries as of last year. It also claims to have over 62.7 million monthly active users.

The bike-sharing firm was earlier rumoured to be in merger talks with rival Mobike, which would have created the world’s biggest bike-sharing company. Mobike co-founder and CEO Davis Wang and Ofo founder and CEO Dai Wei, however, denied the possible merger.

Mobike and Ofo have been in a fierce struggle to gain control of the booming bike-sharing sector. Launched in Shanghai in April 2016, Mobike now operates in more than 170 cities around the world including China, the UK, Japan, Italy, Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia.

Big names in venture capital and private equity, including Sequoia Capital and Hillhouse Capital, have reportedly invested over $2 billion into the two rival firms.

The competition, however, further heats up with the entry of new bike-sharing companies that are also reportedly cornering huge amount of investments, among them HelloBike.

Also Read:

Mobike said to have raised $1b after failed merger talks with rival Ofo

China’s Ofo to launch bike-sharing service in India through tie-up with Paytm

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.