China: Youon Bike expands to Europe through JV with

Photo: Hellobike website

Shanghai-listed Youon Bike is taking the bike-sharing battle to Europe by forging a joint venture with UK-based bike-sharing startup, it said in a statement on October 26.

Through the JV, Youon Bike will launch a fleet of 1,000 public bikes in London by March 2019, making the UK the fourth country in its international expansion after Russia, India and Malaysia. will be running the on-ground operations for Youon Bike in the UK market and the two companies have already received approval from the local government.

Last October, in a consolidation move in the bubbling bike-sharing space, Youon Bike merged with rival Alibaba-backed HelloChuxing – formerly Hellobike – although no financial details were disclosed. The acquisition enabled Youon Bike to tap into the dockless and tech-based bike-sharing play to take on rivals like Mobike and Ofo.

Meanwhile, Ofo was said to be close to being acquired by its investor and ride-hailing major Didi Chuxing, although both parties are yet to agree on a price.

Like Youon Bike, Ofo entered the European market last September but has since pedaled out of several major cities in the region due to vandalism and theft.

Another bike-sharing startup Hong Kong-based GoBee had also retreated from Europe this February after reporting that as many as 1,000 bikes had been stolen and nearly 3,400 damaged during its four months of operation in France.

Established in 2010, Youon Bike mainly operates public city bikes with fixed locking poles. As of the end of 2017, Youon Bike has a presence in 252 cities in China, providing a total of 1.1 million bicycles to 800 million users nationwide. The startup went public last August, raising about $87 million through its IPO.

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Alibaba-backed HelloChuxing jumps into ride-hailing fray in China

More Asian bike-sharing startups forced to pedal out of markets