(Yicai Global) April 24 -- Ofo Bicycle Co., one of China's two largest bike-sharing operators, announced that it received a strategic investment from Ant Financial Services Group, internet giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s [NYSE:BABA] financial technology division. The amount of funding was not specified.
The groups will work together on payment, credit, internationalization, and other fields to improve user experience in the bicycle sharing industry and promote the use of electronic payments.
The non-financial benefits of an alliance with Ant Financial may the most valuable to the Beijing-based bike-sharing group, insiders said. Both firms run platforms that have large, loyal userbases whose habits could be influenced by the companies' cooperation.
Ofo established a strategic partnership with Zhima Credit, an independent third-party credit information service under Ant Financial, in March.
Didi Chuxing and others have backed Ofo, which raised USD450 million during a financing round last month and broke the industry's record for funds raised in a single go. Ofo competitor Beijing Mobike Technology Co. has attracted investors including Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. [HKG:0700] and Singapore's Temasek Holdings Private Ltd.
Ant Financial also backed bicycle sharing platform "Youon" on February 28, 2017.
Ofo's market share is 51.2 percent and Mobike's is 40.1 percent, a BigData-Research report that was released on February 8 shows.