China’s bicycle sharing platform Mobike, which launched its operations in India in April has failed to meet the deadline to join Odisha government’s bicycle sharing initiative under its smart city project.
The state government was planning to launch the bicycle sharing facility for citizens before the Men’s Hockey World Cup, starting from November 28.
The Odisha government had selected Mobike through a bidding process in April. However, despite multiple reminders, the bike sharing company failed to meet the government demand before the timeline issued via tender notice.
Although the government has extended the date through a corrigendum, which lasted on September 10, none of the players including Mobike has been finalised yet.
Entrackr reached out to Bhubaneswar Smart City Limited (BSCL) project to know the exact reason behind it.
According to the BSCL official, the dockless bicycle sharing startup needed more time to respond to government’s notification, however, the government couldn’t wait anymore as it has very less time to prepare for the Hockey World Cup.
“Mobike is a closed chapter for us and we have issued a fresh open bidding process for the bicycle sharing facility inviting new players to come”, said the official who did not wish to disclose his name.
We also asked whether other bicycle sharing platforms have reached the government. “As the matter is private we couldn’t disclose any name and it would be available once the bidding process is done”, he added.
An email sent to Mobike did not elicit any response before the publication.
Media reports also claimed that Hero, Ola Pedal, Mobycy, and Zoomcar were also in the fray to get the tender.
When contacted, Mobycy confirmed that they participated in it to Entrackr. “Yes, we took part in the bidding process but never heard from the state government. If offered would like to be part of it”, revealed Akash Gupta co-founder, Mobycy.
Mobike was selected for the project during April-May and it was going through its acquisition process by Meituan-Dianping during the same period.
For uninitiated, Mobike has been acquired by another Chinese company Meituan-Dianping for a whopping $2.7 billion deal in April. After its launch in India from Pune, the company has recently revealed its aggressive approach and planning to launch in cities including Nagpur, Delhi, Bengaluru, and Ahmedabad, among others.
The Odisha government’s project was somewhere around Rs 10 crore for a 5-year license for the public bicycle sharing (PBS) system. So keeping out itself from a big event amidst its expansion plan needs a second thought.
One of its close competitors Ofo, which also launched its operation over 10 cities in India had shockingly shut down its services in the country. While Ofo’s absence gives an edge to Mobike to go aggressive in the country, the latter’s withdrawal from Bhubaneswar smart city project is quite surprising.