China’s Mobike expands SE Asia footprint, launches bike-sharing service in Malaysia

Visual from Mobike's blog site.

Chinese smart bike-sharing company Mobike has extended its reach to Malaysia by launching its dockless bike-sharing service in Shah Alam, the capital of Selangor state.

The Shanghai-based startup has partnered with S P Setia Berhad, a Malaysian real estate developer, for the launch.

Malaysia is the third country in the Southeast Asian region where Mobike has launched its operations. Only last month, Mobike launched its services in Thailand while it continues to grow operations in Singapore since March.

Every Mobike is equipped with unique smart-lock technology and built-in GPS connected via the Mobike IoT network. This allows for tracking the location and monitoring the health of each bike, as well as location-based demands for bikes in real-time, to intelligently manage supply and help solve the “last-mile” challenge.

Big data collected and analyzed by Mobike’s “Magic Cube” AI platform can help city planners and managers leverage a wealth of insight for smarter, more optimized operations and infrastructure. This is a vital feature for cities, which no other bike-sharing company provides.

Mobike’s VP of International Expansion Chris Martin, said: “We envision that Mobike’s dockless and convenient bike-sharing service will grow in tandem with the nation’s push to redefine the transportation sector’s environmental impact for a sustainable and well-connected country.”

Mobike officially launched its service in Shanghai in April 2016, and in just over a year has expanded the service to over 160 cities globally.

Touted as “Uber for bikes”, Mobike last June secured over $600 million in its Series E round led by Tencent, raising its company value to over $3 billion. Other investors who joined the round include Sequoia, TPG, and Hillhouse Capital. New investors BOCOM International, ICBC International, and global institutional asset management firm Farallon Capital also participated.

Mobike claims its Series E funding marks the biggest ever financing round in the bike-sharing industry globally. Its closest competitor – Beijing-based Ofo – is also reported to be raising around $500 million at a $3 billion valuation.

Ofo last March raised $450 million from investors from investment group DST Global, ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing and CITIC’s private equity arm. Ofo has previously raised funds from investors including Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi and Didi. Since mid-2015, it has accumulated over 20 million registered users.

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