Ofo’s bicycle-rental feature is expected to be accessible to users within ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing’s app in April, signaling the bike-rental startup’s another step in an escalating race with competitors for market supremacy, our sister site TechNode Chinese is reporting (in Chinese).
Didi Chuxing declined to comment when contacted by TechNode. Ofo has not responded to requests for comment.
Such a tie-up is not unprecedented. Ofo’s arch-nemesis Mobike made a similar move in February when it made an announcement with popular social messaging app WeChat that users can unlock a bike by scanning a Mobike QR code using Wechat on their cellphones.
Ofo’s every move will have major consequences for Didi Chuxing, as the ride-hailing service now holds more than 30 percent stake in ofo after three rounds of funding, becoming the bike-rental firm’s largest shareholder.
Didi has made a hefty investment in ofo starting from the latter’s B+ round in September last year worth US$ tens of millions. The ride-hailing giant also participated in ofo’s US$ 450 million Series D financing this March, led by Moscow-headquartered DST.
Didi’s travel portfolios include car-pooling, car-rental, Didi Kuaiche (“快车” in Chinese; private cars charging lower prices) and Zhuanche (“专车” in Chinese; private cars, but higher fees and focusing on high-end travelers).
The availability of ofo bike-rental feature in-app can help fix Didi’s failings in the field of short-distance travel. On the other hand, the tie-up can help ofo attract massive traffic to its bike-rental feature and broker more rides thanks to the popularity of Didi app.
Ofo is in a close race with Mobike, and both claimed to be the country’s No. 1 bike-rental platform, are bleeding money sending out freebies to win users.
Ofo CEO Dai Wei earlier revealed that the company aims to expand to 200 cities and cover tier-four cities this year, and may turn a profit by the end of this year.