SoftBank in talks to invest in Alibaba-backed HelloChuxing: Report

Photo: Hellobike website

Alibaba-backed bicycle-rental startup HelloChuxing, formerly known as Hellobike, is reportedly in talks with major Japanese investor SoftBank for a possible investment, according to sources interviewed by The Information.

Details of the ongoing talks were not disclosed, including the amount that SoftBank is investing and how the investment will value HelloChuxing, which announced raising $321 million in a funding round from Ant Financial in June.

The round earned the Shanghai-based startup a valuation of $1.47 billion. Its previous investors include Ant Financial, Fosun Group, WM Motor, Chengwei Capital, and GGV Capital.

Hellobike rebranded itself in September as part of its bid to expand operations beyond bike-sharing. It also disclosed that it will partner with ride-hailing providers Shouqi Limousine & Chauffeur and digital mapmaker AutoNavi Software but provided no further details on the contours of these planned tie-ups.

In October last year, Hellobike merged with Shanghai-listed Changzhou Youon Public Bicycle System to better compete against its rivals.

Youon, which manages city-run bike-rental systems with fixed return docks distributed on major roads, has been struggling to compete with tech-based bike-sharing platforms like Mobike and Ofo.

DEALSTREETASIA earlier reported that the company’s foray into ride-hailing is bound to force HelloChuxing to change tack. With its bike-sharing operations, it has so far steered clear of China’s largest cities, where competition from deep-pocketed rivals Ofo and Mobike has forced players such as Bluegogo to shutter operations.

HelloChuxing claims to have over 200 million registered users in smaller towns and cities.

The deal, if it pushes through, will add to SoftBank’s investments in the ride-sharing space. In October, the Japanese investment firm was reported to be closing in on a deal to invest about $500 million in Grab.

SoftBank first bought a stake worth $250 million in Grab in 2014 and has invested more subsequently. Sources said SoftBank and Grab are in advanced talks to finalise terms of the latest investment and Grab’s latest funding round is likely to be completed in a few weeks.

Also Read:

Alibaba-backed HelloChuxing jumps into ride-hailing fray in China

Ant Financial backs $321m round in Hellobike as another Chinese unicorn emerges

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.

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.