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Ofo bikes parked in Shanghai last year. Photo by Bloomberg.

Inside Alibaba and Didi’s Tussle Over a Multibillion Dollar Startup

Photo: Ofo bikes parked in Shanghai last year. Photo by Bloomberg.

Last fall, Didi Chuxing tried to get bike-sharing company Ofo to merge with main competitor Mobike. The attempt, led by Didi and other Ofo investors, failed because the bike startups strongly opposed it, according to people familiar with the talks. Then Didi, Ofo’s largest shareholder, changed course and launched its own bike-sharing platform within its popular car-hailing app.

The series of events not only soured Didi’s relationship with Ofo, but also inflamed tensions between Didi and internet giant Alibaba—one of Didi’s own investors—which is doubling down on Ofo by leading its current $1 billion fundraising. Alibaba also wants Didi to relinquish its shareholder right to block Ofo’s funding rounds in the future, arguing that Didi is turning into Ofo’s competitor, a person familiar with the matter said. Didi hasn't opposed Ofo’s current $1 billion round, the person added.   

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Art by Clark Miller.
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