(Yicai Global) May 17 -- Leading Chinese bike-sharer Ofo aims to tap cutting-edge blockchain technology in its efforts to combat problems related to the management of its trademark yellow bicycles in urban areas.
Ofo, operated by Beijing Bikelock Technology Co., has established a research institute to explore the use of blockchain as a way to further develop its big data and Internet of Things capabilities, the Beijing-based company told Yicai Global.
The company aims to use the blockchain unit to better integrate multiple parties including enterprises, governments and users to seek out solutions to operational problems such as bike deployment, redistribution, parking and maintenance, while also boosting the development of smart urban transportation globally.
Ofo is exerting efforts to improve its bike management in urban areas following a scathing review of its services by the local authorities in China’s southern city of Shenzhen in Guangdong province earlier this month. The firm is committed to working with city governments to improve operations. Shenzhen is one of several Chinese cities where bike-sharing is increasingly strictly regulated. City authorities no longer allow new additions to its vast fleet of bicycles due to oversaturation.
The firm also aims to use big data, IoT and other technological innovations to provide users with better travel services, Ofo said, while confirming that it would strictly abide by China's laws and regulations in the rollout of any blockchain applications. The company emphasized they would not pursue any activities related to initial coin offerings, which are banned in the country.
Blockchain, a digital ledger which holds public records of transactions, is best known for its role in cryptocurrencies but has a wide array of uses. Despite shutting down local virtual currency exchanges, China is keen to press on with blockchain development and included the sector in a national strategy document as part of its five-year plan for 2016.
Editor: William Clegg