Two widely popular Chinese unicorns are coming together to simplify the intra-city travel needs of the populace. Didi Chuxing and Ofo have joined hands and the latter’s bike-sharing services will soon be offered alongside ride-hailing services through the former’s mobile application.
Though it has finally been announced today, this partnership has been in works quite some time. The rumor mill had been churning out tidbits of the said functionality addition earlier this month. This collaboration isn’t completely surprising as, for those aloof, Didi made a strategic investment into this bike-sharing unicorn during its Series D round. This means you’ll now be able to commute via Ofo’s easily spottable yellow bikes using Didi’s rider app itself.
Under this partnership, you will not only be able to book yourself a bike for riding across China from the rider mobile app. You’ll also be able to manage the entirety of functions which you’d usually get inside Ofo’s mobile app. This means you get registration, account authentication, payment and even customer support will be available instantly. These services will be initiated with Beijing and then nationally in the coming months.
One of the most significant highlights of this partnership will result in Ofo handing over its bike-routing analytics to Didi. The latter, who’s primary aim is to simplify the transportation process in China, will utilize this treasure trove of collected data to improve on its real-time public bus arrival inquiry service. The passengers will gain access to improved suggestions for bike-to-bus routes, especially for multi-stage trips across the nation.
For example, once the integration is down then you’ll be able to map out the route through a combination of both Ofo bikes and Didi buses. After you have input the starting point and destination, the Didi app will surface multiple route options for you to choose from.
Ofo is currently the leading bike-sharing service in China and competes against its fiercest rival Mobike, who is steadily expanding its presence across the region. The former currently counts four million bikes and tens of millions of users operating on its platform. It is currently offering its bikes for hire in 81 cities across four countries. Apart from China, Ofo currently operates in the UK, U.S, and Singapore. It aims to expand to 20 countries by the end of 2017, including France, Germany, Japan, Spain, and the Philippines.
Since there is great demand for bike-sharing services in the said region, Ofo has also topped its coffers to provide top-notch services, keep rivals at bay and expand to new countries and categories. It recently bagged an undisclosed investment from Alibaba’s affiliate Ant Financial to further its tech and presence. Even Apple CEO Tim Cook paid Ofo a visit during his recent trip to China.
It allows you to rent the bike, fixed with GPS & integrated locks, from anywhere in the country and then drop them off anywhere. There are no fixed docking points for these yellow bikes like there are in other parts of the globe. Further, it’ll be interesting to see how the partnership shapes up in the future.