Bike-shar­ing firms gear up for a car-lite SG

Singapore Business Review - - CONTENTS -

Whilst the bike-shar­ing trend has al­ready been boom­ing in other mar­kets such as China, it was only this year when three ma­jor bike-shar­ing plat­forms de­cided to com­mence their op­er­a­tions in Sin­ga­pore, in sup­port of the gov­ern­ment’s push for a car-lite so­ci­ety. Bei­jing-based Ofo and Mo­bike, as well as the home­grown obike, are the big­gest firms to of­fer sta­tion­less bike-shar­ing models.

In July, Ofo man­aged to raise the largest in­vest­ment in an app-based bike-shar­ing firm, record­ing more than US$700M in its lat­est Se­ries E fund­ing round led by Alibaba, Hony Cap­i­tal, and CITIC Pri­vate Eq­uity, re­sult­ing in an es­ti­mated val­u­a­tion of about US$2B. “We are very for­tu­nate to be part of the global shar­ing econ­omy and in­vestors have ex­hib­ited a lot of con­fi­dence in our busi­ness model,” Ofo said.

This fund­ing feat trumped Mo­bike’s US$600M Se­ries E fund­ing, with in­vestors in­clud­ing Sin­ga­pore-owned Te­masek, War­burg Pin­cus, Tencent, and Se­quoia.

Ofo and Mo­bike each have over 100 mil­lion users glob­ally, with the lat­ter record­ing 25 mil­lion rides daily in 150 cities. Mean­while, obike has at­tracted Gr­ishin Ro­bot­ics and has se­cured US$45M in its Se­ries B fund­ing round in Au­gust. Since March, it achieved 500,000 signups.

Chal­lenges and bike-shar­ing’s fu­ture

Since these firms utilise dock­less sys­tems, one re­cur­ring prob­lem that op­er­a­tors face are er­rant rid­ers. In July, LTA’S Ac­tive Mo­bil­ity En­force­ment Of­fi­cers im­pounded 70 dock­less bi­cy­cles that were parked in­dis­crim­i­nately.

To counter and dis­ci­pline er­rant driv­ers, credit sys­tems were put in place where users will gain and lose points de­pend­ing on their be­hav­iour. Once the credit score falls below 80, the user will be charged $100 per 30 mins. Ofo also said it has seg­mented their op­er­a­tions into dis­tricts based on pop­u­la­tion den­sity and it has de­ployed on-the-ground op­er­a­tions crew in each district to lo­cate in­dis­crim­i­nately-parked bikes. For obike, the use of the lat­est Blue­tooth tech­nol­ogy helps track the lo­ca­tion of their bikes ac­cu­rately, re­duc­ing the time the main­te­nance team spends in find­ing and re­de­ploy­ing bikes.

These bike shar­ing firms are a part of the big­ger shar­ing econ­omy model that is tak­ing off glob­ally. PWC said this model has all it takes to grow from US$15B to US$335B by 2025. For Mo­bike, it stated that it is ac­tively de­vel­op­ing its ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence plat­form that can in­te­grate and an­a­lyse hun­dreds of vari­ables in­clud­ing weather, time of day, lo­ca­tion, crowd pat­terns, and sup­ply and de­mand trends.

Ofo and Mo­bike each have over 100 mil­lion users glob­ally, with the lat­ter record­ing 25 mil­lion rides daily in 150 cities.

Ofo plans to es­tab­lish over 100 pre­ferred park­ing zones and re­lease more than 10,000 bi­cy­cles by end-2017

Mo­bike records 25 mil­lion rides daily

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