Chinese company launches bike-sharing platform in Indian cities | Hindustan Times
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Chinese company launches bike-sharing platform in Indian cities

Ofo launched its dockless bicycle-sharing services in Pune and Coimbatore this week, to be followed by a staggered rollout in New Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Indore.

world Updated: Jan 24, 2018 20:26 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
The bike-sharing industry in China is now worth more than $ 1.5 billion.
The bike-sharing industry in China is now worth more than $ 1.5 billion.(Representative Photo/ Getty Images)

One of China’s leading bicycle-sharing companies has launched operations in India in a move aimed at tapping the burgeoning market for sustainable and environment-friendly urban transport systems.

Ofo launched its dockless bicycle-sharing services in Pune and Coimbatore this week, to be followed by a staggered rollout in five more cities, including New Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Indore.

The bike-sharing industry in China - which over time has faced a number of problems, including bankruptcy - literally took off from zero in 2014 in major cities such as Beijing and Shanghai and is now worth more than $ 1.5 billion.

Millions of bicycles have been deployed by multiple companies on China’s roads in big and small cities, aiming to provide a last-kilometre solution to regular travellers.

According to Chinese media, two Beijing-based companies, Mobike and Ofo, are valued at more than US$1 billion and lead the field. Chinese industry players have been gradually expanding abroad.  

According to official Xinhua news agency, Ofo has operations in more than 250 cities across 20 countries, with widespread usage by more than 200 million global users, and more than 6 billion efficient, convenient and green rides.

“On Monday it launched its first project in New Delhi at the Delhi University college - Shaheed Rajguru College of Applied Sciences for Women,” Xinhua reported.

“With urban mobility emerging as a major civic issue and more and more Indian cities aspiring for smarter cities, government bodies are striving to reduce environmental impact, improve public transport and the overall quality of life.”

Rajarshi Sahai, from Ofo’s India office, told Xinhua: “Through this launch at the flagship women’s college in Delhi, we wish to empower our women and girls with the right to move freely and with dignity. Bicycles have a positive correlation with women's safety and are a great way to stay active and fit.”

Sahai added that “with overcrowded roads and unprecedented particulate pollution levels, Delhi is ripe for a cycling revolution and we wish to aid that by providing a healthier, quicker and greener alternative to motor vehicles”.

The industry has had its share of problems in China, with the unprecedented expansion of the services provided by multiple firms triggering parking, congestion and maintenance issues.

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