Alibaba’s financial services unit Ant Financial has invested $321 million in the bike-sharing company Hellobike, kicking its value up to a whopping $1.47 billion and making it China’s latest unicorn, according to Shanghai-listed Yonou Bike’s security filing.
Similar to other bike-sharing companies, Hellobike offers flexible bike rentals powered by mobile apps and mobile payments.
In October of last year, Youon Low Carbon Technology, a dockless bike-sharing subsidiary of docked public bike operator Youon Bike, acquired all of Hellobike’s shares, China Money Network reported.
Following the deal, Youon Low Carbon Technology and Hellobike merged their operations to create an even larger bike rental business.
Ant Financial’s investment, which is the equivalent of RMB 2.06 billion, makes it the largest shareholder in the newly minted unicorn, with a 36% stake in the combined company. Youon Bike’s shares were reduced to 8.86% from 10.29%.
The news marks Alibaba’s latest move to achieve dominance in China’s bike-sharing market. While the sector is large, it is competitive, according to Yonou Bike.
Ant Financial is now the largest shareholder in the newly minted unicorn.
Just two months ago, Ant Financial and other investors, including Fosun Group, invested $700 million in Hellobike in another funding round.
One month before that, another bike-sharing company, ofo, secured $866 million in equity and debt capital in a funding round led by Alibaba.