Uber’s Chinese rival Didi Chuxing buys into bicycle-sharing startup Ofo

A taxi driver is reflected in a side mirror as he uses the Didi Chuxing car-hailing application in Beijing, China, September 22, 2015. REUTERS/Jason Lee

Didi Chuxing, China’s answer to Uber, already dominates car-hailing in the country. Now it’s reverting to bicycles, once the nation’s traditionally preferred mode of conveyance.

Didi is investing tens of millions of dollars in ofo, a bikes-on-demand startup conceived two years ago on the grounds of Beijing’s prestigious Peking University as a student project, and which now bills itself as the country’s largest bicycle-sharing platform. The company founded by college alumnus Dai Wei operates almost 70,000 bright-yellow bikes and handles half a million rides daily across 20 cities, Didi said in an e-mailed statement.

Bicycles remain commonplace in Chinese cities and in rural areas despite rapidly growing automobile ownership, particularly because a car remains out of reach of many urban dwellers. Cities like Hangzhou, home to Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., sponsor bike-sharing programs, and increasing smartphone use has paved the way for bike-sharing startups such as ofo and rival Mobike. Ofo’s business is centered around college campuses, and works via Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s WeChat. Users scan a code from their smartphones to unlock parked bikes and enter their destination and pay via the messaging app.

Didi will consider folding bike sharing into its network as the two explore collaboration possibilities, it said. The company, which recently clinched a deal to buy Uber Technologies Inc.’s operations in China, is said to be worth $35 billion and is now considering ways to expand its business locally and abroad.

Bloomberg

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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.