China’s bike rental firms show data is king, says BlackRock’s Wiseman

People ride a tricycle and electric bikes past the Zhengyangmen gate in Beijing, China, on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015. Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

China’s booming bicycle-rental industry is just one example of how data can make even the oldest of businesses lucrative, and failing to adapt can prove costly, according to the world’s largest asset manager.

The value in the business isn’t really in the bicycles themselves, the environmental benefit or their potential to ease pressure on public transport but in the information they produce, Mark Wiseman, global head of active equities at BlackRock Inc., said at a panel the Toronto Global Forum on Monday.

“The owners of those bicycles know where they are being ridden, when and by whom,” Wiseman said. “And I can tell you, as an investor, I’d be willing to pay a lot of money for that data.”

Led by Beijing Mobike Technology Co. Ltd. and Ofo Inc., China’s bike-sharing industry has attracted billions in investment from the likes of Warburg Pincus and DST Global, with some preparing to expand overseas. Users can park the bikes anywhere and unlock them with a click of their mobiles.

“If you do not believe that technology is affecting your business, you are dead,” Wiseman added. “It is affecting every single business, every single enterprise, everywhere in the world.”

Also Read:

China: Bicycle-rental firm Youon merges with rival Hellobike

China’s bike rental firms Mobike, Ofo are actually secret cash cows: Gadfly

Bloomberg

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.