DiDi will integrate rival bike-sharing companies into a “comprehensive bike-sharing platform”. Source: Shutterstock

Chinese Uber rival Didi Chuxing enters bike rental market

CHINESE ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing is set to enter the highly-saturated market of bike-sharing services, the company has announced.

The company will integrate rival bike-sharing companies – including one of the largest in China, Ofo – into a “comprehensive bike-sharing platform” within its app. As well as these partners, the app will include Didi’s own upcoming bike-sharing service.

Didi’s venture into this market makes perfect sense considering bicycles are the ride-hailing industry’s main competition when it comes to shorter trips. Didi has made large investments into China’s bike-sharing giant, Ofo, since September 2016, and is now the largest shareholder of the company.

It was reported Didi has reached an official agreement with the collapsed bike-sharing firm Bluegogo on cooperation arrangements.

This involves users being able to use Bluegogo bikes through the app without having to place a deposit. Didi has also agreed to pay out late wages for Bluegogo staff, but will not reimburse users’ deposits. Instead, the ride-hailing giant has agreed to settle the matter by exchanging them into Didi coupons which can be used for rides.

According to industry rumors, Didi is planning to take over Bluegogo once the aforementioned issues surrounding the company’s bankruptcy are solved.

At its peak, Bluegogo reported 20 million registered users, deployed over 700,000 bikes and launched businesses in San Francisco and Sydney as well as China.

However, the company’s attempts at global expansion did not end well. In San Francisco, the company brought a halt to operations after just four months due to resistance from local politicians.

In Sydney, Bluegogo’s partnership with Australian bike-sharing business Reddy Go came to an end after they were replaced by another bike supplier.

Last November, the company was inundated with complaints from users who claimed its Bluegogo app no longer was able to unlock bikes and that the company was not responding to customers’ demands to refund their deposits.

When investigated, the Chinese press reported abandoned offices, a reported US$300,000 owed in office rent and more than US$1.5 million owed to a Bluegogo bike supplier.

Didi plans to have 60 million bikes operating in 2018, according to media reports. Bluegogo alone will provide Didi about 700,000 bikes operating in several cities in China, including Beijing, Shenzhen, Shanghai and Guangzhou.