Mar 1, 2017

Chinese bike-sharing co. Ofo raises $450 million

Ofo, a Chinese bike-sharing service, has raised $450 million in Series D funding at a valuation north of $1 billion, according to Bloomberg. Backers include DST, Citic Private Equity, Matrix Partners, Coatue Management, Atomico and Macrolink Group.

Why it's the BFD: For starters, because it's not the only Chinese bike-sharing deal announced in the past 24 hours. Smaller rival Bluegogo announced a $58 million round led by Black Hole Capital. And that's all on top of last month's $300 million infusion for Mobike. It's a land grab reminiscent of ride-sharing, except it has driven prices so low that even Uber/Lyft/Didi/Dollar Tree would blush. Per the Bloomberg story, daily rental prices are often just 15 cents, and even that is being waived in some cases.

Bottom line: As an anonymous market tweeter noted, the bicycle in China has gone a symbol of egalitarian communism to one of competitive capitalism.

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Scoop: Census Bureau is paying Chinese state media to reach Americans

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The 2020 Census Paid Media Campaign, which sends U.S. taxpayer dollars to community media outlets to run ads about the upcoming census, is including a Chinese state-run broadcaster as one of its media vendors.

Why it matters: After China's yearslong campaign to co-opt independent Chinese-language media in the U.S., Washington is now paying Beijing-linked media outlets in order to reach Chinese Americans.

Go deeperArrow31 mins ago - World

Live updates: Coronavirus spreads to Latin America

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

Brazil confirmed the first novel coronavirus case in Latin America Wednesday — a 61-year-old that tested positive after returning from a visit to northern Italy, the epicenter of Europe's outbreak.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,700 people and infected over 81,000 others. By Wednesday morning, South Korea had the most cases outside China, with 1,261 infections. Europe's biggest outbreak is in Italy, where 374 cases have been confirmed.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health

GOP congressman accuses California pension official of working for China

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The latest season of Red Scare has come to Sacramento.

Driving the news: Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) has repeatedly accused Ben Meng, chief investment officer of the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS), of tacitly working on behalf of the Chinese government. Banks also says that, were it up to him, Meng would be fired — and has questioned the patriotism of California Gov. Gavin Newsom for not at least investigating Meng.

Go deeperArrow2 hours ago - World