Those bike-flooded streets you’re so used to seeing?
They may no longer be a reality.
Following Ofo’s suspension just last month, another bike-sharing company has announced its impending withdrawal from the local market.
Surrender of its bicycle license
According to Channel NewsAsia (CNA), Mobike has filed an application yesterday (11 March 2019) to surrender its bicycle-sharing license in Singapore.
The claim was confirmed by the Land Transport Authority (LTA).
If that isn’t clear enough, here’s what it means: they’re going the route of oBike and Ofo.
In an emailed response to CNA’s queries, LTA stated on Tuesday that it’s currently accessing Mobike’s request, and will cooperate with the company to ensure that it has fully explored all options, including its proposal to shift existing assets or operations to existing licensees, to minimise impact to consumers.
LTA also added that should the application be granted, Mobike’s expected to follow through with the rules and regulations, two of which happen to be:
- Conduct a proper exit by removing all bicycles from public places
- Provide refunds for user deposits and pre-paid credits, in agreement with the company’s terms and conditions
It should also be noted that the bike-sharing company has since removed its applications for a PMD-sharing license and to upgrade its maximum allowable shared bicycle fleet size.
Pull Out Game: Asia
On Monday, Mobike released a statement, saying that it will withdraw from not just Singapore, but several Asian countries. In the process, the company will also re-evaluate its units in other overseas markets, amid a wide-scale contraction in the market and Ofo’s bankruptcy.
Incidentally, Mobike’s the third Chinese bike-sharing company to encounter setbacks in the Singaporean market after oBike’s exit in 2018 and Ofo’s suspension last month (February).
So far, Ofo (that has ghosted both users and the authorities), Mobike and local start-up SG Bike are the three companies left with a full operating license.
Anywheel, Grabcycle and Qiqi Zhixiang are operating on sandbox licenses, which isn’t a full license as LTA will monitor them. Both Anywheel and GrabCycle can only have a maximum of 1,000 bikes while Qiqi Zhixiang’s limit is at 500.
Which, if you think about it, isn’t a lot.
Mobike, also known as Meituanbike, was founded by Beijing Mobike Technology Co., Ltd, and exists as a fully station-less bicycle sharing system that’s headquartered in Beijing, China. It is, via number of bikes, the world’s largest shared bicycle operator.
In June 2017, Mobike raised $600 million in funding, bringing the firm’s fund raising in 2017 alone to nearly US$1 billion. In the same month, the company was valued at US$3 billion.
In April 2018, the bike-sharing company was acquired by Chinese web company Meituan-Dianping for US$2.7 billion. Four months later, in August, Mobike launched an electric version of their orange bicycle.
Operations in Singapore, the company’s first overseas market, commenced on 21 March 2017.
Inactive Social Media Accounts Since 18 Feb 2019
Just like oBike and Ofo, Mobike’s social media accounts have been inactive since February (18 Feb for Facebook and 15 Feb for Instagram) with no mention about their sudden exit.
However, given that they usually post something new every week or two weeks, this would not be considered “ghosting” yet. Moreover, they’ve taken the effort to inform LTA about their exit, which is unlike the other two dead companies that practically just ghosted everyone.
But stay tuned because like all bike-sharing demise…there’s always a twist #justsaying
So what now?
With Mobike soon to be evacuated from the picture, and Ofo already out, it really gets you wondering about the future bike-sharing scene. But hey, if you’re really a fervent bike fan, you can still look to the other existing bike operators for all your needs. Though the question remains:
Will they survive the onslaught of bike-sharing companies?
After all, according to the license, over 90% of the bikes are licensed to Mobike and Ofo (50,000 out of 55,000).
With 90% of bikes gone, I’m pretty sure people would rather buy a bike.
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