Chinese bike-sharing startup Mobike raised $600 million last week and shared its plans to expand vigorously all across the globe. It aims to establish its presence in 200 cities by the end of this year, and build a strong presence within and outside China.
However, this is not all. Mobike is keen to venture into services other than transportation. At the TechCrunch China event held in Shenzhen this week, CTO Joe Xia said services like point-to-point deliveries and other logistics are “coming soon.” He added they will begin with conducting trials in select cities, and once it works they will expand internationally to other cities. Xia says, they have already started testing some local commerce services in few cities. Talking about the pilot tests, he explained,
You go there and show your [biking] track [in the app] and get discounts. This gives people more opportunities to connect with offline shops.
Joe believes bike sharing is going to change business models. He has a reason, which everyone will agree to – bicycles can get to places that subways, buses, and cars can’t. And, this makes the service more reasonable than any location services today.
As of now, Mobike operates in China and Singapore, and about a week ago, it revealed its plans to step into Manchester by the end of June. Claiming to have 100 million users and supporting roughly 25 million rides a day, unveiling more such services will prove to be prominent for its global expansion plans.
Mobike CTO also mentioned that the company plans to come up with dedicated service for businesses soon. They have been engaged with major corporates around the potential for a product aimed at business users who already rely on the bikes for deliveries, commuting and more.
Apart from this, Mobike is exploring the possibilities of monetization around data. The company had launched an AI data monitoring platform named Magic Cube two months before. It, along with the Magic Cube data team, collaborates with selective government bodies to assist in city planning, maintenance, and operations. It already partnered with 12 institutions to share raw data which can then be analyzed further. Xia states,
In the future, there’s a lot of opportunities for us to [package data] in different ways as we’re a very different product from what you have today, e.g. search and social.
He adds their global Internet of Things (IoT) platform, that has been built in association with renowned tech companies like Qualcomm, Vodafone, AT&T, is vital for their expansion plans. This platform enables the company to manufacture bikes in China which can be supplied in other countries where it is planning to enter.
Beijing-based Ofo, Mobike’s chief rival is also upping its ante to take its service to masses globally. Backed by the likes of Didi Chuxing, DST Global, Matrix China, and Alibaba, it has raised a massive amount of funding. Earlier this year, it became a part ‘unicorn’ club with its $450 million Series D funding round.