Ride hailing and bike sharing come together under one roof through Didi Chuxing’s new partnership with Ofo, the bike sharing service easily spotted in China thanks to its signature canary yellow bicycles. The team-up makes a ton of sense, given Didi’s strategic investment in Ofo from September 2016, and the way its short-term bike rentals can supplement car travel and sidestep traffic in busy urban centers.
Ofo’s yellow bikes often split rack space with rival Mobike’s silver-painted ones, dotting busy streets in a relatively haphazard way in cities like Beijing, where their unique, fully app-based rental model and integrated locks and GPS allow them to be picked up and dropped off anywhere, instead of at designated docking bay pickup points, as is the case with stateside equivalents like SF’s Bay Area Bike Share.
The partnership with Ofo means that users will be able to book the bikes directly via the DiDi rider app, and will actually be able to go through the entire flow, from registration, to account authentication, to payment and even to getting customer support. Ofo will also be providing its bike-routing analytics to Didi, to help the company make further improvements to its DiDi Bus real-time public transit tracker, and provide improved suggestions around bike-to-bus transfers for multi-stage trips.
Bike sharing is big business in Beijing, and Ofo has raised around $580 million in total, hosting around 10 million rides per day. Deeper ties between Ofo and Didi could lead to even bigger valuations for Didi Chuxing, which is already riding high in that regard.