Business / Technology

Didi customers have option to switch to bikes

By MENG JING (China Daily) Updated: 2016-09-27 07:16

Didi customers have option to switch to bikes

Students in Zhengzhou, capital of Henan province, ride bicycles from the ofo platform. [Photo/Zhang Tao, China Daily]

Didi Chuxing, China's largest car on-demand service provider, is gearing up to diversify its urban transportation offerings by adding bicycles to its existing product portfolio.

Beijing-based Didi announced on Monday that it has invested tens of millions of dollars in ofo, a bike-on-demand startup created in 2014 on the campus of Peking University as a student project.

Didi said that China is the world's most complex and diversified rideshare market with unrivaled potential and possibilities. The two companies will explore strategic cooperation in urban ride shares, including "offering a quality bike-sharing experience on Didi's platform," it said in the statement.

The move is Didi's latest effort to expand its presence in new areas after it became the dominant player in China's ride-hailing market with its merger with Uber China in August.

Industry observers said the investment is expected to offer Didi users an alternative mobility solution when four-wheel vehicles encounter traffic jams, or they can use bikes to arrive at their final destination after getting off Didi buses.

Zhang Xu, a transport analyst with the Beijing-based internet consultancy Analysys, said that bike sharing services can serve as a good alternative to complement Didi's existing vehicles, including taxis, private cars and buses.

"Especially in mega cities in China, there is strong demand to use bikes for short-distance commutes, which is more efficient and environmentally friendly," he said.

The online bike-sharing market has been heating up in China, thanks to rising smartphone usage and local governments' encouragement of "green transportation".

Apart from ofo, another Beijing-based bike-sharing app named Mobike has also gained a lot of attention as it rolled out thousands of its tailor-made bikes in Beijing this month.

Users can use apps to find the nearest available bikes and unlock bikes by scanning a quick respond code. Payment can be made via smartphones.


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