China bike-sharing firm Ofo eyes global expansion after raising over US$700m

Ofo is among the biggest bike-sharing operators in Singapore.
Ofo is among the biggest bike-sharing operators in Singapore.ST PHOTO: FILE

BEIJING (BLOOMBERG) - Chinese bike-rental start-up Ofo raised more than US$700 million (S$966.6 million) in its latest funding round to expand its business globally amid rising domestic competition with Beijing Mobike Technology and more than a dozen rivals.

The series E round is led by billionaire Jack Ma's Alibaba Group Holding, Hony Capital and Citic Private Equity, according to an e-mailed statement sent by Ofo. The company's earlier investors, car hailing platform Didi Chuxing and DST Global, also took part in the financing. The company declined to comment on valuation.

The round is the largest known financing by a bike-sharing company, overtaking a US$600 million round by Mobike last month. The company had been seeking a valuation of about US$3 billion in its latest funding round, people familiar with the matter have said.

Ofo and MoBike are two of the biggest bike-sharing operators in Singapore.

Ofo is targeting an expansion to 20 million bikes in 20 countries by the end of this year. The three-year-old company said it already has 6.5 million bikes in 150 cities.

"We will further upgrade our service for better user experience," chief executive officer Dai Wei said in the statement.

Before the current round, Ofo had amassed at least US$650 million in funding and obtained an estimated valuation of about $2 billion. Besides Didi and DST Global, notable investors of Ofo include Ant Financial and GSR.

China's fledgling bike-sharing companies are raising cash at an unprecedented pace, underscoring growing investor interest in ride-sharing beyond an automobile market dominated by Didi.

Mobile is backed by Tencent Holdings, Sequoia Capital, Hillhouse Capital and Warburg Pincus.