Chinese bike sharing company ofo and Japan’s SoftBank Commerce & Services Corp. have reached a basic agreement to collaborate on the deployment of ofo’s global bike sharing business in Japan.
It is unclear if SoftBank Commerce & Services Corp., a unit owned by Brightstar, which is part of a family of companies within Softbank Group, has invested in the start-up as part of the agreement. With the partnership, ofo will launch bike sharing services in Tokyo and Osaka in September, according to a company announcement.
Japan is the seventh overseas market for ofo, following its previous entry into Singapore, the United States, Britain, Kazakhstan, Thailand and Malaysia. Its chief rival Mobike entered the Japanese market two months ago, after going into Italy, Singapore, and the United Kingdom.
“We are delighted to work with ofo to offer an efficient and green transport solution that will generate superior convenience and contribute to environmental sustainability in Japan,” said Tetsuo Kuramitsu, Board Director of SoftBank C&S. "Leveraging our business engaged in the sale, distribution and manufacturing of information and communication technology products, we aim to promote ofo’s bike-sharing business model and reinvent personal mobility in Japan."
Founded in 2014, ofo currently operates around eight million shared bikes around the world. The company claims that it processes more than 25 million transactions daily, connecting travelers in over 150 cities.
In July, ofo raised a US$700 million new funding round from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., CITIC Private Equity, Hony Capital, Didi Chuxing and DST Global.