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Company dynamics

Didi is about to connect to ofo, and the pattern of bike sharing battle may change

According to information obtained internally from OFO, it is possible that in April this year, OFO will connect to the Didi Chuxing app, and users can directly use OFO's services on Didi.

"This matter has been frequently put on the agenda recently, and the internal news is that it may be connected next month," said an internal employee of OFO. 36 Kr has confirmed this news with the official sources of Didi and Ofo, but as of the time of publication, neither company has confirmed or denied it.

OFO founder Dai Wei stated in December last year that there was no clear timetable for when to access the Didi app. "The 'ofo' mode does not have GPS, and users can use it as soon as they see the car. The entire logic is different from the Didi platform's taxi hailing logic, but in the near future, we will jointly launch some things with Didi."

However, similar access is not without precedent. In February of this year, WeChat and Mobike announced that users can scan the QR code on the body of Mobike through WeChat to directly enter the Mobike WeChat mini program, click to unlock and use the car.

This is not the first time that OFO will connect to Didi, nor is it the first time that the two platforms have been deeply bound. Previously, Didi participated in the latest three rounds of financing for OFO. According to a report from Tencent Technology, a shared bike investor revealed that after multiple rounds of financing, Didi has become the largest shareholder of OFO, holding over 30% of the shares. "This means that Didi has a stronger voice in OFO, and at the same time, whether OFO succeeds or fails, Didi will be the biggest interest related party."

It is not difficult to understand that after Didi connects OFO, it will serve as a huge user traffic entry point to guide it, while OFO further consolidates its business volume, enhances its industry position and imagination space with Didi's support.

Moreover, if OFO is truly integrated, it also means that Didi and its underlying capital are further filling their own gaps in the field of transportation.

An insider revealed to 36Kr that Didi once wanted to make a shared bike, but for some reasons it was not possible and could only be used as an investor for OFO. However, this does not mean that Didi will not further enter this market.

Didi's investment in ofo is nothing more than targeting the opportunity in the "last three kilometers".

At present, the "last three kilometers" field in China is still in a very early stage, and there are no systematic service providers. In the first tier cities of Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, the complexity of transportation has led to increasingly fierce competition among major travel platforms for the "last three kilometers".

"Whether to take a taxi or ride a bike, which is 3 kilometers from the starting point to the destination, is a choice for users. It makes sense to choose either option," said an internal employee of OFO. Didi's approach is to cover all different options.

At the end of December last year, OFO and Didi launched a red envelope campaign, marking the first large-scale cooperation between OFO and Didi after being strategically invested. The red envelope strategy adopted in the event is also considered one of Didi's traditional marketing tools.

According to Didi, in 2017, the main focus will still be on the field of transportation, hoping to connect everyone's travel needs. This means that all modes of transportation will be covered, and shared bicycles will also be one of Didi's directions of focus.

36 Kr believes that another important reason for Didi's further integration into shared bicycles is that, compared to the "strict" regulations on internet private vehicles, the development of shared bicycles was initially encouraged by policies and the constraints were quite reasonable. From a policy perspective and a new business growth perspective, Didi Chuxing, which has been affected by the new policies on ride hailing since last year, may further benefit from the trend of shared bicycles.

However, there are still questions about how to connect an OFO without navigation to Didi, and what impact will it bring to users after connecting?

"As far as I know, Didi may outsource the technology and navigation to a third-party company." The aforementioned OFO internal employee said that after connecting to Didi, OFO may still not have navigation, and users mainly use scan code unlocking and payment functions on the page.

As for user experience, the internal employees mentioned above stated that "the main functions of ofo were originally relatively simple to operate, and I believe it can be seamlessly integrated into the Didi platform." He emphasized that "after all, the future trend is that the number of apps loaded on people's phones will be decreasing.".