Seattle is getting its third private, stationless bike-share company. Ofo, a Chinese industry giant, bills itself as the biggest such company in the world and recently got $700 million in private funding.
A third private, stationless bike-share company will open in Seattle on Thursday, a company executive said, as the city continues to act as the American testing ground for this new breed of bike share.
Ofo, a Chinese company that bills itself as the world’s largest stationless bike share, will open with several hundred bikes on Thursday, gradually ramping up to the maximum allowable 1,000, Grace Lin, vice president of Ofo U.S. said.
The company’s yellow bikes will join LimeBike (green bikes) and Spin (orange), smaller, Bay Area-based startups which have been operating in Seattle for a little more than a month. Each bike company can expand to 2,000 bicycles on Sept. 7, per city rules.
Ofo works similarly: Users download a smartphone app to find and unlock bicycles, pay $1 for each 60 minutes of ride time and then leave and lock bikes at their destination.
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Ofo started in Beijing in 2014 and now operates in more than 170 cities in China, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Kazakhstan and the United Kingdom, Lin said. Seattle will be its first American city, Lin said.
The company has more than 8 million bicycles worldwide and more than 100 million users, Lin said. In July it announced $700 million in funding, largely from Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant.