What happened: On Wednesday, The Information published a report that Japanese conglomerate SoftBank is in talks to invest in Hello TransTech, formerly known as HelloBike. Reuters has since released a follow-up article stating that, according to inside sources, SoftBank and Chinese company Primavera Capital will take part in a new round of funding for the bike-rental startup. The goal of the fundraising is supposedly to raise another $400 million for the unicorn, which a spokesman said is currently valued at over $2 billion. However, representatives of Hello TransTech, SoftBank, and Primavera have not provided comment on the news of potential investments.
Why it’s important: To outside observers, it may seem surprising that SoftBank would want to invest in the increasingly cutthroat field of Chinese bike-rental. However, Hello TransTech has so far managed to muscle out competition by targeting smaller cities and they recently diversified by launching a ride-hailing service in September. Along with the support of high-profile investors like Alibaba, that may be enough for Hello TransTech to avoid the pitfalls of cash-strapped competitors like ofo, which it’s currently in talks to acquire.