Ofo is one of a number of startups in China that want to make bicycles great again. They’ve bought huge fleets of bikes, each painted them a distinctive color, and made them accessible for rent through an app for as little as US$0.15 per hour.
But there’s also been a dark side to the bike-sharing fad, with cities complaining of hundreds of bikes littering sidewalks, like earlier this month at a seafront promenade in Shenzhen:
And the startups are plagued by vandalism, like with whoever decided to dump all the bikes together in this way:
Despite the issues, investors are pouring billions of dollars into bike apps like Ofo and its chief competitor, Mobike. Both startups have started to venture outside China too.
Didi putting the yellow bikes into its hugely popular app – with “nearly 400 million users,” says the company today – will be a big boost to Ofo. Arch-rival Mobike got a similar fillip recently when it got baked into WeChat, the popular messaging app.
Aside from the app integration, Didi will tap into Ofo’s data so that it can design “more efficient bike-bus transfer options” on its shuttle bus service, Didi said this morning in a statement.
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