Beijing-based Mobike has officially commenced its bike-sharing service in Singapore today. It enters the market that is currently dominated by two operators – Chinese startup ofo, and local player oBike.
This is a part of Mobike’s ambitious overseas expansion with this being the first nation outside of China where it is seen entering. The firm is rolling out a gamut of bikes in the island state, however, the number of bikes has not been disclosed. It has also collaborated with a number of educational institutions, Mobike’s head of international expansion Florian Bohnert, says,
We are pleased to be partnering with National University of Singapore, Singapore Management University, and Republic Polytechnic, for example, to put bikes on their campuses and encourage students and staff to use bikes to get around.
Akin to the different operators in this industry, Mobike uses a dockless bike-share system. It lets users find a bike near them using the smartphone app. The specially-designed bikes are fitted with GPS and proprietary smart-lock technology, which enables their unlocking using their smartphones. The rider can then park the bike by the roadside once they reach their destination and lock it. This makes the bike available to other Mobike users in its vicinity.
The company which operates over a million bicycles across 33 cities in China had recently secured funds from state-owned investment fund Temasek. It has raised about $300 million in funds to date from the likes of Tencent and Foxconn.
Vodafone: the IoT connectivity partner
Mobike has roped in Vodafone to manage the Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity for its bikes. The connectivity will support the prominent features of the service which includes the GPS navigation, that helps consumers to locate and book a bike, and also, the proprietary QR code based locking system. The GPS system is powered by a solar panel which removes the need for manual charging.
Unlike other traditional bike sharing schemes that require customers to return bikes to dedicated racks, the bikes can be securely parked in any authorized location in a city. Florian Bohnert added,
We were looking for a partner who could provide us with support around the world and the one who understood our business, Vodafone has proved to be an engaged and innovative partner and offers a global footprint which matches our ambitions.