Beijing-based bike sharing firm ofo has formed a partnership with China Telecommunications and Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. to improve technology related to smart bikes, which has swept across the nation by storm lately.
China Telecom will provide nationwide wireless Internet coverage for ofo, while Huawei will equip ofo bikes NB-IoT (narrow band Internet of Things) chips and other telecommunication technologies.
With better Internet coverage and improved chips, ofo bikes will suffer less from smart lock malfunction, poor stability and high failure rate of solar charging that supply electricity to the central hardware of the bikes that allow users to lock and unlock vehicles.
"The partnership with Huawei and China Telecom will provide better consumer experience for our users in the world," said Dai Wei, founder and CEO of ofo.
Launched in 2015 in Beijing, ofo has distributed over one million smart bikes equipped with GPS and smart locks in over 40 cities in the world. The company claims to have over 15 million users globally and taking a 51% market share of the bike sharing industry in China in 2016.
Mobike, ofo’s largest rival, has claimed the same saying that it is the largest bike sharing company in China. But as of January, Mobike operates in nine cities around China with hundreds of thousands of bikes in operation, the firm said previously in an email.
ofo received tens of millions of U.S. dollars from Didi Chuxing in September 2016. One month later it received US$130 million venture funding from CITIC Private Equity, Coatue Management and Xiaomi Inc.
Mobike received an undisclosed strategic investment from Singapore’s state investment firm Temasek Holdings and Hillhouse Capital earlier this week. The firm raised a total of over US$300 million since the start of 2017, including a US$215 million series D funding from Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Warburg Pincus last month, and an undisclosed amount of money from Foxconn Technology Group a few weeks later.