China bike-sharing firm Ofo says raises over $700 million, led by Alibaba, others - Metro US

China bike-sharing firm Ofo says raises over $700 million, led by Alibaba, others

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Chinese bike-sharing start-up Ofo said on Thursday it has raised more than $700 million in its latest funding round that was led by Alibaba Group and two others, in the largest such fund-raising in the business that has drawn keen investor interest.

Ofo said in a statement that besides Alibaba, the series E funding was led by Hony Capital and CITIC Private Equity, with additional investment from current investors Didi Chuxing and DST Global.

It declined to comment on its valuation. Dai Wei, Ofo’s founder and CEO, had said in April the firm was valued at upwards of $2 billion.

Ofo and rival Mobike are the two biggest Chinese companies offering bike-sharing services at home and abroad, attracting large amounts of venture investments.

The new Ofo funding round comes after Mobike last month announced a $600 million investment led by Tencent Holdings, its largest financing round to date.

Ofo plans to deploy 20 million bikes and expand its service to 200 cities in 20 countries by the end of 2017, the company said. It says it currently “has connected over 6.5 million bikes to riders in 150 cities across five countries, generating more than 25 million transactions daily.”

Alibaba, making the investment after its associate Ant Financial participated in the previous round, said Ofo redefined short-distance commute with a low-carbon footprint offering. “Ofo is the industry leader and we support its open platform strategy,” Alibaba executive vice chairman Joe Tsai was quoted as saying in the statement.

Mobike, backed also by Sequoia and Warburg Pincus, too is aiming to expand globally and announced a Japanese subsidiary last month.

(Reporting by Sijia Jiang; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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