Chinese bike-rental company Mobike on expansion spree, enters US

Mobike

Chinese bike-rental company Mobike has launched its first batch of bikes in the capital of the United States.

“We are thrilled to call Washington D.C. Mobike’s first home in North America. We are committed to developing a global bike share culture by collaborating closely with cities, and the US capital is key in achieving this,” said Hu Weiwei, CEO of Mobike.

He added that he is looking forward to working with more cities across the nation to make cycling the most convenient, affordable, and environmentally friendly transportation option for residents and tourists alike.

Mobike has also partnered with US telecom giant AT&T and Qualcomm. With the internet-of-things (IoT) partnership along with Mobike’s app, local users are able to locate, unlock, and pay.

Launched in April 2016, the company has operations in around 100 Chinese cities and has raised over $900 million since October. It has also expanded to Singapore, and recently launched a pilot service for 1,000 bikes in the UK, starting in the cities of Manchester and Salford.

In June, it raised a funding of $600 million led by Tencent Holdings. Besides Tencent, its existing investors such as Sequoia, TPG and Hillhouse Capital also provided financing in the latest round. New investors include investment banks BOCOM International Holdings, ICBC International Holdings and asset management firm Farallon Capital.

A month ago, Mobike’s largest rival ofo has launched the bike-rental service in Seattle (in the state of Washington) a month ago. Ofo has introduced 1,000 bicycles for rent at $1 per hour. ofo has also launched its dockless bikes in Singapore, Thailand, Kazakhstan, Austria, Britain, and the US.

Experts believe that as local governments of major cities in China have halted more bike placements, Chinese bike-rental companies are exploring the overseas market. The companies plan is also based on the success they have felt in the domestic market.

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