The global Minion invasion continues with Universal Studios announcing a partnership with one of China’s leading bike-sharing companies to promote its latest installment in the Despicable Me franchise.
On Friday, Ofo announced that it would be turning some of its distinctive yellow bikes into two-wheeled Minions featuring sets of large goggle-eyes on the handlebars. Over the weekend, some of the newly-animated bicycles were spotted out in Beijing and Shanghai.
Such a partnership, between a company whose signature color perfectly matches that of a lovable-Twinkie-esque cartoon character, may seem like a match made in heaven. But this is only the start of bigger things to come.
With already 6.5 million bikes deployed in more than 150 cities around the globe, it’s only a matter of time before more businesses take advantage of the plentiful new advertising space that Ofo provides, not to mention that of its competitors.
It should be noted that this partnership is certainly mutually beneficial. While Universal Studios gets to promote its increasingly popular movies, Ofo receives some sorely needed cash. According to company reports, Ofo’s bikes have been used over 1 billion times since the company’s launch in 2015. Ofo was recently valued at $2 billion, and it is easily the second-largest bike-sharing company in China. However, despite these impressive numbers, tough competition and stricter regulations are making life more difficult for entrepreneurs such as Ofo’s 26-year-old CEO Da Wei.
The existence of other major vendors, such as the vastly popular Mobike, means that the market for dock-less bikes is becoming increasingly saturated. Each ride on one of Ofo’s bikes costs next to nothing (and sometimes is free), but the production and maintenance of the growing population of yellow bicycles must be costly, especially considering the fact that some cities have begun to confiscate them in mass.
So, it is likely that the Minions, and similar film franchises, will continue to make appearances on shared bikes, if Ofo and other bike-sharing companies want to stay afloat. In the meantime, you can expect to see some of the goggle-eyed bikes brightening sidewalks around our fair city.
By Emma Abrams
[Images via China Daily]
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