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Ofo bikes roll into Astana for expo

By Ren Qi | China Daily | Updated: 2017-06-12 07:56

President Xi Jinping's state visit to Kazakhstan encouraged Chinese startup companies to invest in the countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative, a Chinese entrepreneur said.

As tourists from around the world awaited on Friday night the opening of Astana Expo 2017, with the theme of Energy of the Future, they found the yellow bicycles from China in the streets of Kazakhstan's capital city.

Shan Shan, a Chinese student at Nazarbayev University, said he was a user of Ofo bikes when he studied in China, and used a bicycle for the last kilometer of his way to class when coming out of the subway.

The yellow Ofo shared bike has been a hit in China in the past year, and it is convenient for those who want to find an environmentally friendly way to reach a short-distance destination.

Everyone is able to ride a bike by simply unlocking it through its mobile app. Riders don't need to find a dock to park and are able to find an available bicycle when needed.

"Astana is a beautiful city, but I meet problems when I need to go for a short distance," he said.

"I will definitely invite my Kazakh classmates to the Expo to experience the convenience of shared bikes from China for short-distance travel."

After signing a cooperation agreement with the Kazakh government, Ofo bikes will be demonstrated at the Astana expo.

Dai Wei, co-founder and chief executive of Beijing Bikelock Technology Co, which owns the Ofo bike operation, said the Belt and Road Initiative, which was launched by Xi in 2013 in Astana, inspired the company to explore the Central Asian nation's market.

"President Xi's visit to the country will enhance the bilateral relations, especially economic relations, and more Chinese companies besides Ofo bike will examine the Central Asian country," Dai said.

He said the Chinese government has encouraged and provided support to Chinese entrepreneurs to develop their own business with innovation and creative ideas since 2014, and the Belt and Road Initiative offers the opportunity for them to introduce Chinese business models to overseas markets.

Some of the expected 1,000 yellow bikes have been placed near expo hotels and along some main streets leading to the expo in Astana. Later, bikes will be placed at the expo site and the Expo Village.

Meanwhile, a Russian-language version of the Ofo app will be available for local Kazakhs and the tremendous number of Russian tourists.

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