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China's Ofo joins crowded Paris bike-share market

China's Ofo joins crowded Paris bike-share market
From Reuters - December 6, 2017

PARIS (Reuters) - Chinas Ofo launched its dockless bicycles in Paris on Wednesday, becoming the fourth bike-sharing scheme operator in a city set to banish all combustion-engine cars by 2030.

Ofo France general manager Laurent Kennel told Reuters the firm, one of two bike-sharing giants in China, had put just over 100 of its bright yellow bicycles on Paris roads on Wednesday and plans to ramp that up to 1,000 bikes by year-end.

Ofo comes hot on the wheels of Hong Kong-owned Gobee.bike, which launched in October and whose bright green bikes, estimated at a few thousand, can be seen on every Paris street.

A third Asian player, Singapore-owned oBike, has a few hundred bikes on Paris streets, and will also compete with the citys long-established Velib scheme.

Unlike the dockless Asian bikes, the Velib bikes must be parked in fixed docking stations of which there are some 1,800 in Paris, but which are often full in popular parts of the city.

We want to be leader in free-floating bikes in Paris and France, Kennel said.

He added that to cover Paris well, the firm plans to put several thousand bikes on the road, although there are no immediate plans to match Velibs 24,000 bicycles.

Like Velib, the Ofo bikes have three gears - unlike the gearless Gobee and oBike bikes - but will be slightly more expensive at 0.50 euros ($0.6) per 20 minutes, compared to 0.50 euros for 30 minutes for the other two Asian operators.

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