The globalization competition between ofo and Mobike, two of China’s top bike rental giants, is reaching a feverish pitch. Instead of revealing the entrance to overseas markets one by one, ofo announced today that it will be launching in a cluster of four European countries of Russia, Czech Republic, Italy and Netherlands on the September 22nd World Car Free Day.
“We’re exceptionally thrilled to announce our launches in these countries on a day that means so much to ofo. The platform was created with the ambition of improving the environment globally by introducing our low-carbon way of transportation to urban dwellers,” said Dai Wei, founder and CEO of ofo. “ofo is committed to bringing our green service to every city in need of green, convenient short-distance travel solutions.”
Tapping into these new countries, ofo is launching its service in Moscow (Russia), Prague (Czech Republic), Milan (Italy), as well as Groningen & Rotterdam (Netherlands) gradually, according to a company statement.
The launch process and model in each city vary. Through a partnership with local firm Velobike, ofo’s signature yellow bikes are expected to appear on the streets of Moscow in spring of 2018 when the trial launch starts. The bikes will be customized to meet the high Moscow standards and equipped with GPS/Glonass trackers.
Instead of distributing across the city, ofo will begin its deployment in the Praha 7 area of Prague. Also, its service will commence in universities in the Netherlands, where they will offer special price packages for faculty members. For the Italian market, ofo’s yellow bikes are already available in the streets of Milan and will grow to 4,000 by early October.
Alongside the European cities, ofo has also launched its service in Phuket, Thailand with 1,000 bikes. Hackney, one of the most cycle-friendly boroughs in London is going to receive up to 750 more bikes over the coming month.
Altogether, ofo is currently ramping up operations across 13 countries including Austria, China, Japan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, the UK and the US.
While the domestic market is quickly reaching saturation, both ofo and Mobike are placing overseas markets on a higher priority order in their strategic plans. Ofo’s announcement comes just one day after Mobike, which now operates in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Japan, Italy, and the UK, lands in its first US city Washington DC this Thursday.