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Ofo partnership means expansion to Japan

By Ouyang Shijia | | Updated: 2017-08-09 20:34

Chinese bike-sharing giant Ofo Inc announced on Wednesday a new partnership agreement with Japanese technology firm SoftBank Commerce & Service Corp to expand its bike-sharing services in Japan.

The new move came shortly after Ofo rolled out shared bikes in Malaysia last week, marking the firm's latest international expansion against its top rival, Mobike Technology Co Ltd.

Ofo said it would form an exclusive partnership for a large-scale deployment, as SoftBank C&S will serve as its strategic partner to grow Ofo's bike-sharing business in Japan. And it plans to initially operate services in Tokyo and Osaka in September.

“Launching in Japan is a huge milestone for Ofo. In a country where there is a strong cycling culture, we strive to further improve the convenience and cost-effectiveness that cycling can bring to people in Japan,” said Lawrence Cao, head of Ofo's Asia-Pacific business.

Cao added that the new partnership will pave the way for Ofo's business growth and help the company to better cater to users' needs in Japan.

Didi Chuxing-backed Ofo said Japan was a key market for its expansion across the Asia-Pacific region and it aims to improve local transportation ecosystems.

Tetsuo Kuramitsu, board director of SoftBank C&S, said the partnership will enable an efficient and green transport solution in Japan.

“Leveraging our business engaged in the sale, distribution and manufacturing of ICT products, we aim to promote Ofo's bike-sharing business model and reinvent personal mobility in Japan.”

Ofo is seeking to turn up the heat on the fierce ride-sharing battle against its arch rival, Mobike, via global expansion across Singapore, the United Kingdom, the United States, Kazakhstan, Thailand, Malaysia and now Japan.

Currently, Ofo's bike-sharing services cover more than 100 million users in over 170 cities across eight countries, while Mobike has more than 6 million bikes in nearly 160 cities globally, including Singapore, the United Kingdom, Japan and Italy.

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