Alibaba invests $866mn in Beijing-based bike-sharing platform

Alibaba invests $866mn in Beijing-based bike-sharing platform

Alibaba invests $866mn in Beijing-based bike-sharing platform

The Tencent Holdings Ltd (騰訊)-sponsored company said that 70 of its first 1,000 bikes had disappeared, but undaunted, it is pressing ahead with expansion. Alibaba Group also led Ofo's $700 million Series E round a year ago, which was announced one month after Mobike disclosed that it had received a $600 million Series E led by Tencent.

So far Ofo has introduced 1,250 bikes into London but said it is ultimately targeting 150,000 bikes across the city, compared with the 12,000 bikes now available under the official Santander-sponsored "Boris Bike" scheme.

The bikes are unlocked using an app and cost as little as one yuan (US$0.15) an hour.

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With the Alibaba-led funding, the cash-strapped Ofo is expected to continue a "proxy war" with rival Mobike, whose top investor is Internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd.

Since its launch in Shanghai in April 2016, Mobike has since expanded to more than 200 cities worldwide. More than 6,000 residents signed up during the first few weeks of the scheme, with Ofo promising to introduce 300 more bikes this month.

In July, the Beijing-based bike-sharing platform completed a Series E funding of $700 million, making them the world's biggest and most valued bike-sharing company.

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Sheffield councillor Jack Scott said: "I am delighted with the impact Ofo is having".

Pledging four million of its bikes as a mortgage of sorts against the deal, some of Ofo's main investors would not allow the business to take further direct investment from Alibaba, reports the China Money Network.

But in other European cities, local authorities are clamping down on unregulated bike-sharing schemes.

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