China’s Mobike takes on Ofo in Singapore as bike-sharing competition heats up

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 21 March, 2017, 5:03pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 21 March, 2017, 5:03pm

Mobike has formally launched in Singapore, joining the ranks of Ofo in the city-state as China’s two largest bike-sharing start-ups compete for market share outside their home turf.

Singapore is Mobike’s first market outside of China, and the company will work with regulators in the city-state to promote smart bike-sharing.

The company’s entry into Singapore is hot on the footsteps of rival Ofo, which set up shop in Singapore last month. Mobike will also pit itself against local Singaporean bike-sharing firm Obike, which has already deployed several thousand bikes islandwide.

The bike-sharing companies’ expansion to Singapore comes ahead of the city’s national bike-share scheme, which is expected to launch in the fourth quarter of this year with over 2,000 bicycles distributed in specific neighbourhoods.

Like its riders in China, Mobike users in Singapore download the app and unlock an available bicycle by scanning a QR code on the actual Mobike. When the trip is completed, users manually lock the bike and leave it in an authorised parking area near their destination. The GPS-enabled bikes mean that users don’t need to return them to specific docking stations, but can leave them within any area authorised for bicycle parking.

Apple’s Tim Cook shows strong support for Beijing bike-sharing start-up Ofo

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

Mobike, which currently boasts over 10 million users in its home market of China, is looking to promote cycling as a last-mile transport solution in densely-populated Singapore. Users can use Mobike as a means of transport between homes or offices and public transport hubs, the company said.

Mobikes will also be available in academic institutions such as the National University of Singapore and Singapore Management University, enabling students to travel around campus on bike.

To roll out its first international market launch, Mobike has partnered with companies such as Vodafone for its internet-of-things (IoT) Global Platform which supports features such as GPS and QR code based locking, as well as US-based payments provider Stripe to process Mobike payments.

Mobike in January announced a US$215 million fourth round of financing led by private equity firm Warburg Pincus.