Ofo is one of 12 companies including Lyft and Uber applying for licenses to run an electric scooter hire scheme in San Francisco. Ofo’s protracted application for a permit to run the city’s first bike share scheme was rejected by authorities, meaning the US scooter craze could be the bike company’s chance to have a visible (bright yellow?) presence in the tech center.

The quality of the Chinese unicorn’s bicycles is much derided and although the company does not yet have a scooter design, it would launch thousands of scooters in via its new scheme in summer 2018 if granted a license, as wells as e-bikes across the US, according to the head of ofo North America.

Ofo faces tough competition and an even tougher local authority. Five companies will be picked by San Francisco’s transport agency to join a year-long pilot, according to PitchBook. In the first six months there will 1,250 scooters on the streets and, if deemed successful, the number could be doubled for the rest of the year.

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Frank Hersey

Frank Hersey is a Beijing-based tech reporter who's been coming to China since 2001. He tries to go beyond the headlines to explain the context and impact of developments in China's tech sector. Get in...