Alibaba’s Ant Financial invests in Chinese bike-sharing startup unicorn Ofo



Ofo, the Chinese bike-sharing startup that recently claimed unicorn status, announced this weekend that it has added Ant Financial as an investor. In a statement posted to its Weibo account, Ofo said that it will work with Ant Financial, an Alibaba unit, on Internet and credit card payments and its international expansion plan.

The amount of Ofo’s new funding from Ant Financial was not disclosed. Just two months ago, Ofo closed a $450 million Series D that it claims raised its valuation to more than a billion dollars. That round was led by DST Global, Matrix China, CITIC, and Didi Chuxing, the largest car-hailing app in China.

Ant Financial—the maker of Alipay, China’s largest online payment platform—was already one of Ofo’s strategic partners. In March, Ofo started using Ant Financial’s credit-rating system, called Sesame Credit, to allow users with qualifying scores to rent bikes without having to make a deposit.

Having Ant Financial as an ally strengthens Ofo’s position against its chief rival Mobike. Both companies are eager to expand beyond China and have been busy lining up strategic partners and investors. Mobike’s backers include Tencent, one of Alibaba’s biggest competitors, and tech manufacturing giant Foxconn. Tencent makes WeChat Pay, which lags behind Alipay in market share but enjoys the advantage of being integrated into WeChat, the messaging app that is almost ubiquitous among Chinese smartphone users.

In its statement, Ofo says it wants to be the world’s largest bike rental platform and that it plans to work with Ant Financial to expand into new countries. TechCrunch has contacted both companies for more details.

Featured Image: Ofo



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