(Yicai Global) Jan. 18 -- Bluegogo, the Chinese bike-sharing startup that hit the ropes two months ago, has returned to the nation's streets after car-hailing giant Didi Chuxing threw it a lifeline. Bluegogo's bicycles are now deposit-free and unlockable through Didi's mobile app.
Didi launched its new bike-sharing platform, which lists Bluegogo next to Didi-backed rival brand Ofo, in Beijing and Shenzhen yesterday. Bluegogo plans to restart in other cities, helping Didi speed development of a one-stop transport platform, news site Walstreetcn reported, citing Didi Senior Vice President Fu Qiang.
Didi will upgrade its short-trip mobility strategy and provide options and better travel experiences on the last three kilometers, Fu said.
The move comes amid strained relations between the leadership of Beijing Bikelock Technology Co., the company behind Ofo, and Didi Chuxing, the startup's main investor. Ofo founder Dai Wei scuppered recent talks aimed at a Didi-backed merger with its archrival Beijing Mobike Technology Co. In retaliation, Didi has refused to sign off on a deal to inject USD1 billion from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. into Ofo, which is burning through cash every month as it slugs it out with Mobike.
When it went bankrupt at the end of last year, Bluegogo was the country's number three player in the sector after Ofo and Mobike. Bluegogo had deployed about 700,000 bicycles and had 10 million users before it ran into a severe cash and management crisis and was unable to refund user deposits and pay staff wages.
Under Didi's trusteeship, Bluegogo user deposits, privilege cards and account top-ups will be converted into Didi bicycle and travel coupons of equal value.