SEOUL -- Ofo, a Beijing-based bicycle sharing company, teamed up with South Korea's top telecom company, KT, Wednesday to launch shared bicycle services by integrating their technologies and know-how.
A deal signed at KT's headquarters in Seoul also involved South Korea's biggest credit card company, Shinhan Card, which will provide joint marketing, and NHN KCP, an online payment business. KT, which has a nationwide network, said its big data capability will be combined with Ofo's service know-how to develop an upgraded bike-sharing platform and smart locks based on NarrowBand IoT.
Ofo, which operates more than ten million yellow bicycles in 250 cities and 20 countries, has launched a pilot project in the southern port city of Busan. Ofo's dockless system uses a smartphone app to unlock bicycles which have QR codes and GPS satellite positioning. Customers use the app to locate nearby bicycles and lock and leave them anywhere.
Despite complaints that shared bicycles are not parked properly and can clutter sidewalks, blocking pedestrian and handicapped access, their popularity is growing because the system can reduce traffic congestions.
In Seoul, which is notorious for traffic congestion, public bicycles are used by commuters for short-distance transportation, and city officials are under pressure to expand the bike-sharing system launched in October 2015. Seoulites can rent a public bike at designated stations and the bike can be returned to other stations.
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