China’s Hot Bike Sharing Start-Up Mobike Kicks Off Global Expansion In Singapore

Mobike, one of China’s biggest bike sharing start-up, has launched operations in Singapore, the first city outside of mainland China for the company to put its bikes in operation, it said today in an announcement.

Singapore residents can now ride Mobike, bicycles equipped with GPS positioning and smart locks enabled by mobile apps. Users can unlock any Mobike near them by scanning a QR code on the bike, which will initially be deployed at selected high demand areas around the city such as MRT stations and university campuses.

"Our mission is to bring more bikes to more cities around the world, by making cycling the most convenient and affordable choice for urban travelers," said Hu Weiwei, founder of Mobike. "We are excited to launch our service in Singapore, and we truly believe that Mobike can transform how Singapore residents get around."

The Singapore launch follows the revelation of a new strategic investment from Singapore’s state investment firm Temasek Holdings in Mobike last month. Mobike’s existing investor Chinese investment firm Hillhouse Capital and others also participated in the deal to bring Mobike’s total fundraising to US$300 million since the start of 2017.

The bike sharing frenzy in China during the past year has grown faster and wider than people have expected. Bike sharing start-ups such as ofo have experimented to operate in Silicon Valley at the end of last year, and a U.S.-based bike sharing start-up founded by two Chinese entrepreneurs raised US$12 million in financing last week led by Andreessen Horowitz.

Mobike has recorded over 400 million rides in the 11 months since its launch in April 2016 in Shanghai. The Singapore launch builds on months of research that the Mobike team has conducted in Singapore to identify areas where demand for bikes will be highest, with a particular focus on areas where commuters travel to and from key transport hubs such as MRT stations.

These include densely populated residential areas like Pasir Ris and Tampines, where workers and students will be traveling between their homes and nearby subway stations or bus stations. Other deployment areas include Woodlands and Punggol, where access to MRT and feeder bus networks is more limited and cycling can provide an immediate solution to the challenge of last mile connectivity.

"Singapore’s government has been very proactive to support cycling as a viable last-mile transport solution, from the ‘Walk, Cycle, Ride’ scheme to the Park Connector Network," said
Davis Wang, co-founder and CEO of Mobike. "We are confident that Mobike can play a key role in achieving Singapore’s vision of a truly integrated and environmentally friendly transport system with cycling at its core."

Mobike plans to work closely with a number of partners in Singapore to identify "Mobike Preferred Locations", areas of high convenience around the city where users can start and end their cycling trip, in addition to existing authorized bicycle parking zones.

Mobike is also unveiling a number of global partnerships with world-leading companies, including Microsoft, Vodafone, Stripe and AXA Insurance. Microsoft’s Azure Cloud Computing Platform & Services, Vodafone’s Global Platform for IoT Connectivity, Stripe’s seamless and secure international payment platform, and AXA’s Global usage-based Insurance will underpin the Mobike platform as the service is rolled out internationally, supporting its growth into new markets and the rapid scaling up of the service.