HONG KONG, March 21 (Reuters) - Apple Inc chief
executive Tim Cook paid a visit to Chinese bike-sharing company
ofo on Tuesday, as the country's ride-sharing start-ups fight
aggressively for investor dollars and market share.
Cook visited the office of the Beijing-based start-up, known
for its yellow bikes, and met with founding members including
CEO Dai Wei, according to Cook's microblog and ofo.
"Thanks for welcoming me today, ofo team! Great energy
behind your mission to make commuting greener, more efficient
and fun!" Cook said in his official Sina Weibo post, along with
pictures of him riding an ofo bike.
Cook's visit comes amid a fierce contest for users and
investors among China's bike-sharing start-ups, which has drawn
in large global tech investors. The competition is frequently
compared to a similar battle for the ride-sharing market between
Uber Technologies and local rival Didi Chuxing a year
Ofo, which counts Didi as an investor, said Cook came for a
company visit on Tuesday and did not discuss investment or
collaboration. It raised $450 million earlier this month and saw
its valuation pass the $1 billion mark.
Ofo and its main rival Mobike are among a growing number of
bike-sharing services that have sprung up in China that allow
users to find, unlock and pay to rent trackable bicycles through
smartphone apps. It targets younger consumers seeking to get
around congested roads and public transport.
Ofo says it operates in 43 cities in China with 2.2 million
bikes. It also claims pilot schemes in Singapore, London and
Shanghai-based Mobike, which has raised more than $300
million so far this year from investors including Tencent
Holdings, Warburg Pincus, and Singapore state investor
Temasek Holdings, said on Tuesday it was fully launching in
(Reporting by Sijia Jiang; Editing by Sam Holmes)