Alibaba-backed HelloBike is about to complete its new financing round of over US$ 1 billion as the bike-sharing firm is working relentlessly to strengthen its competitive position in a nascent yet fiercely rivaled industry, according to a source familiar with the matter.
Investors participated in this round included incumbent Alibaba’s Ant Financial, Fosun, and others, as well as unnamed new ones, the source said.
The fresh capital would be used towards pushing forward HelloBike’s “Four Wheelers + Two Wheelers” plan as part of the Shanghai-based company’s strategy to build up an intelligent and complete mobility platform.
Founded in 2016, Hellobike has risen to become the third largest bike sharing service by monthly active users (MAU) in China after the tragic bankruptcy of Bluegogo, which is the major casualty in a shake-out that has been challenging Chinese bike sharing services.
Hellobike claimed to have upwards of 100 million registered users and around 10 million daily rides across 160 Chinese cities, making it the fastest growing firm in the bike sharing business.
What’s noteworthy about HelloBike, is the company’s integration with other car-sharing firms so as to offer a more complete city getaround solution.
Through its tie-up with Baidu and Tencent-backed EV maker WM Motor (through its car sharing arm GetnGo) and vehicle rental platform Bage Chuxingm, bike riders will be able to tap into the HelloBike app for either bikes or rental cars to complete rides of different distances, long or short, personalizing their mobility needs.
By this measure, HelloBike is more than what Tencent’s Pony MA criticized before that bike sharing services have now become a mere vehicle to campaign mobile payment apps, in reference to Alibaba’s series D1 round of financing in HelloBike.
And HelloBike isn’t the only one who thinks about offering a gamut of mobility services to connect rides of different distances. Mobike, one of the top two bike-sharing services in China, has just piloted a car sharing service dubbed MoCar in Guizhou province.
Didi, besides acquiring bankrupted Bluegogo, also holds stakes in Ofo and will be launching its self-owned bike sharing service in coming months, as reported by KrASIA last week.
The new financing of HelloBike is set to fuel an already heated competition among Chinese shared transportation services including the likes of Didi, Mobike, Ofo, etc.