Chinese bike-sharing firm Ofo mulls takeover of GoBee’s HK operations: Report

GoBee Bike
FILE PHOTO: Several "Gobee.bike" bicycles, a city bike-sharing service, by Hong Kong startup Gobee.bike, are seen on a sidewalk in Paris, France, October 10, 2017. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo

Chinese bike-sharing company Ofo is reportedly planning to take over the operations of GoBee Bike in Hong Kong, according to sources quoted in a South China Morning Post report.

Beijing-based Ofo and GoBee Bike have not issued an official statement about the reported takeover but sources quoted in the report said the plan makes sense for Ofo and GoBee considering that both are Alibaba-backed firms.

The tieup would benefit users of both bike-sharing firms in Hong Kong should they combine their resources to expand further in different areas, the report said.

In addition to GoBee, other firms offering shared bicycle services in Hong Kong include Ketch’Up Bike and Hoba Bike.

Launched by Raphael Cohen and Claude Ducharme in April this year, GoBee Bike first offered services in Hong Kong and then expanded to Europe last year.

Early this year, however, GoBee halted operations in France, Belgium, and Italy, saying 60 per cent of its European fleet had been damaged or stolen.

Gobee‘s exit leaves Paris with three remaining Asian-owned operators, Singapore’s oBike, with about 1,800 grey-orange bikes, and two major Chinese firms: Ofo, with about 1,000 yellow bikes, and Mobike, with several thousand red bikes.

Ofo, on the other hand, raised $866 million in new funding in March led by Alibaba in what it said was the largest investment garnered in a single round by a bike-sharing startup.

The company did not disclose an updated valuation following the Alibaba investment. Ofo was worth upwards of $2 billion prior to a $700-million funding round in July 2017.

The latest fundraising comes as Ofo and arch-rival Mobike, the biggest bike-sharing firms in China, have been expanding rapidly overseas as well as launching new services at home and offering a greater variety of bicycles.

In China, Ofo competes with Mobike, Obike, and others in market dominance. Both Ofo and Mobike are seriously looking to expand into other markets worldwide.

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HK bike sharing startup Gobee halts operations in Paris

Chinese bike-sharing firm Ofo raises $866m in Alibaba-led round