Ofo, a bicycle sharing company from China, which was slated to come to India by early next year has finally entered the Indian roads, to compete with Ola, Zoomcar and Yulu.
The development was first reported by VCCircle.
As per the latest development, the Beijing-based ofo is transporting bicycles to India, and social media posts by Ofo executives show it could start from Chennai, followed by Bangalore, Ahmedabad, and Indore. The service can be used free of charge with no deposit required until the end of 2017, according to Xinhua reports.
Ofo aims to democratize access to rental bikes by leveraging technology. These bikes are tagged with GPS chips which enable them to be rented through a mobile app without needed to be stored in a central location.
The app allows users to track where its bicycles are parked as well as unlock and lock the two-wheelers. Users pay $1 an hour for the bicycles.
Valued at $2 billion, Alibaba and Didi Chuxing-backed Ofo has connected more than 10 million bicycles to more than 100 million users across 14 countries, including the UK, Singapore, Japan, Malaysia, Australia, US, among others.
The firm has been planning to deploy 20 million bikes and expand their service to 200 cities in 20 countries by the end of 2017.
The bike sharing company raised $700 million round led by Alibaba. Prior to that, Ant Financial, Alibaba’s finance-focused affiliate, invested in Ofo in April this year.
Besides Ofo, other bike-sharing startups such as Mobike and Bluegogo rule the Chinese market. And despite operational challenges like lack of parking, security among others, bike rental startups are having a ball in China.
Last week, Ola piloted Ola Pedal in IIT Kanpur. The ride-hailing behemoth has made around 600 cycles available at spots around the campus which can be booked through its app. Zoomcar also rolled out app-based cycle renting platform starting with 500 bicycles across three cities – Bangalore, Chennai, and Kolkata.