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China bike-sharing firm Ofo to raise $1 bn in funding round led by SoftBank

According to the sources, Ofo could reach a valuation of close to $3 billion after the funding

Reuters  |  Hong Kong 

Ofo, bicycle, cycle
Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Chinese startup is in talks to raise $1 billion in a new round led by Japan's Group, people familiar with the matter said, in what would be the largest fund-raising in the nation's bike-sharing

Didi Chuxing, China's biggest ride-hailing firm which counts as an investor, could join Ofo's new fundraising round?the sources told Reuters. could reach a valuation of close to $3 billion after the funding, one of the sources said.

and Mobike, China's two largest bike-sharing startups, each has raised over $1 billion since late last year in a cash war to expand at home and overseas.

is seeking fresh capital less than a month after raising more than $700 million from investors led by and two others, following rival Mobike, which in June announced a $600 million led by Tencent Holdings.

The latest plan has not been finalised, the sources said, who declined to be identified as the discussions are private.

and Didi declined to comment. didn't immediately respond to Reuters' request for comment.

did not disclose its valuation in the last round. Dai Wei, Ofo's founder and CEO, had said in April the firm was valued at upwards of $2 billion.

Mobike's valuation reached around $2.7 billion-$3.0 billion after the June round, according to three sources close to the startup. declined to comment.

Didi, already an in Ofo, has been increasing its influence at the company. Three of its senior executives joined this week, according to local media.

told local media on Wednesday it had named Fu Qiang, a former senior vice-president of Didi, executive president of the company but did not confirm the hiring of the other two.

For SoftBank, which recently launched a near $100 billion technology fund, an in would be another bet on China's sharing-based economy that has already attracted billions in The Japanese conglomerate in May agreed to invest $5 billion in Didi, putting an over $50 billion valuation on the Chinese company.

SoftBank's potential in also comes after New York-based co-working space startup WeWork said on Thursday that it raised $500 million from and several Chinese investors to set up a Chinese unit.

and Didi are also investing in Southeast Asian ride-hailing firm Grab in its latest round, Reuters reported earlier this week.

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