(Yicai Global) Jan. 25 -- Didi Chuxing, China's top car-hailing service provider, debuted its much-anticipated bike-sharing brand in the southwestern city of Chengdu today, state-backed online news outlet The Paper reported.
Named Qingju Bike, the service is available through Didi Chuxing Technology Co.'s ride-hailing app alongside Bluegogo and Ofo, the report said. Didi is a main investor in Beijing Bikelock Technology Co., the firm behind leading market player Ofo, and recently agreed to help manage Tianjin Luding Technology Co.'s Bluegogo brand after that firm went bankrupt.
Though dominant in the ride-hailing sector, Didi has a long way to go if it aims to usurp Ofo and its archrival Beijing Mobike Technology Co. (Mobike) in the 'Uber for bikes' market. As a latecomer it may need to spend hundreds of millions of dollars chasing the frontrunners, while regulators in some cities are far from keen to allow more units on roads already choked with bicycles for hire.
Didi's brand also arrives amid strained relations between Ofo's bosses and Didi, that startup's main investor. Ofo founder Dai Wei scuppered recent talks aimed at a Didi-backed merger with Mobike. 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 goes head-to-head with Mobike.
Qingju Bike has picked up business from Bluegogo, Didi said. The Beijing-based company has replaced some damaged Bluegogo cycles with its own since a number remain unusable after repairs and maintenance. Qingju Bike has also linked its payment system with Bluegogo's, The Paper reported. Qingju Bike and Bluegogo do not require a security deposit.
Bluegogo users in Chengdu can convert the remaining balance in their accounts to bike-sharing coupons with an equivalent value on Didi's platform. Bike-sharing coupons can be used for all the bicycle brands on Didi's app, the company added.