After ruthlessly devouring Uber’s operations in China, Didi Chuxing, the country’s top ride-hailing company, has moved on to its next target — bikes.
The company announced yesterday that it has invested “tens of millions of dollars” into the bike-on-demand startup Ofo, which was launched on the campus of Peking University as a student project back in 2014. The two companies released a joint statement saying that they will collaborate on product development, technology, data and business operations. While it’s not clear what exactly that means, it’s assumed that Didi plans to help Ofo expand outside of college campuses by eventually placing it on its own extraordinarily popular app.
Last month, Didi acquired Uber China (which was losing $1 billion a year trying to keep up with its domestic rival), and on November 1st its service will even become legal in China. Apparently, with no more four-wheeled obstacles left on its road to success, Didi has begun consuming the two-wheeled ones.
Bike-on-demand services are becoming increasingly popular in China as an alternative form of transportation that is more environmentally friendly. In fact, Ofo currently has over 1.5 million users in 20 cities across China who take 500,000 bike rides per day. Ofo isn’t the only app specializing in this competitive marketplace, but it is the only one backed by Didi.
What Didi gets out of the deal is yet another form of transportation to complement its already robust services. Thanks to constant traffic jams, in Chinese cities, bikes can often be a more efficient way to make short commutes. Also, you don’t run the risk of having a pantless driver.
[Images via Ofo / China Daily]