September 22, 2017 / 11:48 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Chinese bike-share startup Ofo in talks to raise more than $1 bln - co-founder

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MOSCOW, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Chinese bike-sharing startup Ofo is in talks to raise new financing of more than $1 billion, its co-founder Pinjie Yang said on Friday.

The funding round is being led by Japan’s SoftBank Group , sources familiar with the matter told Reuters in July.

“Yes, it can exceed $1 billion,” Yang told Reuters via a translator after an Ofo presentation in Moscow. He declined to disclose what banks were involved in the talks.

Affordability and convenience have led to bike-sharing gaining popularity in cities around the world.

Yang said Ofo, which aims to expand the number of countries where its bikes are available to up to 30 by 2018, had started operating in Italy, Czech Republic and the Netherlands on Friday.

It currently has 10 million bikes in 12 countries, where 200 million global users make 25 million rides per day, having raised more than $700 million from investors led by Alibaba Group in July.

Yang said the firm aims to launch in Moscow in March, and also to start services in Spain, France and Germany next year.

Reporting by Denis Pinchuk; writing by Polina Devitt and Denis Pinchuk; editing by John Stonestreet

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