Bike-sharing upstart Hello Chuxing seeks to raise up to USD 1 billion

Fresh funding for the Ant Financial-backed contestant in China’s bike sharing race

Screenshot from Hellobike website.

Ant Financial-backed bike-sharing company Hello Chuxing, previously known as Hellobike, plans to raise between USD 500 million to USD 1 billion, Bloomberg reports.

Hello Chuxing was the third-largest player in China’s bike-sharing market behind Mobike and Ofo in 2018, according to market research firm iiMedia, but vying for the top positions is a constant, cut-throat competition.

Hello Chuxing counts 200 million registered users, most of whom are located in China’s second- and third-tier cities. What valuation the company is going for at this stage is not clear, but it was worth USD 2.3 billion in June. It previously completed a RMB 4 billion (USD 596 million) financing round in December, and in January, co-founder Li Kaizhu said he would take the company public when the time is right.

New funding would help Hello Chuxing to compete against the other two big players, who have been struggling.

Ofo is rumored to be facing bankruptcy, which it denies, and is under pressure to refund customers. The company has done a U-turn on an ambitious international expansion plan to enter 21 countries across Europe, North America and Asia. In December, it unceremoniously exited Singapore, and two months earlier closed down in Japan.

Mobike is also retreating from overseas markets. In March, it said it would close most of its overseas operations and also raise prices. This came after its parent company Meituan suffered record losses of RMB 8.5 billion (USD 1.26 billion) in 2018, up 200% year-over-year, with Mobike contributing RMB 4.5 billion to those losses. Meituan acquired Mobike for US$2.7 billion in April 2018.

Editor: Nadine Freischlad