Tuesday, May 21

Alibaba-backed Ride Hailing company Raised “millions of funds”

Alibaba-backed Hellobike which is one of the largest bike-sharing apps announced that it raised “millions of funds” in a new funding round. The company declined to reveal details on the funding amount and use of the proceeds.

The round was led by Ant Financial,  the financial affiliate of Alibaba and maker behind digital wallet Alipay, and Primavera Capital, a Chinese investment firm that’s backed other mobility startups including electric automaker Xpeng and car trading platform Souche.

The fledgling startup also got SoftBank interested in shelling out an investment, The Information reported in November. The fresh capital arrived about a year after it secured $350 million from investors including Ant Financial.

It’s interesting to note that while both Ofo and Hellobike fall under the Alibaba camp, they began with different geographic targets. By May, only 5 percent of Hellobike’s users were in China’s Tier 1 cities, while that ratio was over 30 percent for both Mobike  and Ofo.

Hellobike’s ambition doesn’t stop at two-wheelers. In September, it rebranded its Chinese name to HelloTransTech to signify an extension into other transportation means. Aside from bikes, the startup also offers shared electric bikes, ride-hailing and carpooling, a category that became much contested following high-profile passenger murders on Didi Chuxing .

The incidents sparked a huge public and regulatory backlash, forcing Didi to suspend its carpooling service up to this day. But this week, its newly minted rival Hellobike decides to forge ahead with a campaign to recruit carpooling drivers. Time will tell whether the latecomer can grapple with heightened security measures and fading customer confidence in riding with strangers.