One of China’s two billion-dollar-valued bike-sharing companies Ofo has announced its $700 million raises Series E funding, being led by e-commerce giant Alibaba, Hony Capital, and CITIC Private Equity. Existing backers including ride-sharing firm Didi and DST Global also took part in this funding.
For the first time, Alibaba has officially thrown its lot into fast-growing bike sharing space of China, to replace taxis, ride-hailing apps and other transportation options for the people taking short journeys across China. Users simply scan the QR code of bicycle to start their ride and, bicycles can be left anywhere when finished with every bike carrying a GPS chip.
Its finance-focused affiliate, Ant Financial, invested in Ofo in April, and today the parent company has followed up to lead this financing round. Previously, Ofo raised a $450 million Series D led by DST in February, valuing the company at over $1 billion.
This round is the largest that the bike-sharing industry has seen to date, just edging ahead of the $600 million round that close rival of Ofo Mobike raised last month. Point to be noted is that Mobike counts Alibaba’s arch enemy Tencent among its financial backers.
Dai Wei, founder, and CEO of Ofo, said in a statement.
“Ofo is committed to providing global users with a convenient, efficient, green and healthy way of travel,” adding that “We will further upgrade our service for better user experiences, accelerate our global expansion strategy, and continue to lead the bike-sharing industry.”
Two years ago, Since its launch, Ofo said it has provided more than two billion bike rides to over 100 million users. Particularly, Ofo said it has connected 6.5 million bikes to users in 150 cities across five countries — with peak activity of twenty-five million rides made a day.
The company that has expanded overseas into the UK, aims to grow its fleet to over 20 million bikes. Having already added the U.S. and Singapore, the company plans to grow to cover 200 cities by the end of 2017.