By Eva Yoo
As more and more bicycles are shared in China, and the challenges start to rise, such as a bike parking disorder, competition in the industry and the profitability of bike rental companies. The founder and president of Mobike, Hu Weiwei, answered the following six questions on June 29, at the Davos Forum. (Source in Chinese)
First, why did Mobike self-built factories?
When startups need to put emphasis on the cutting the cost, why did Mobike self-built the production of bicycles?
“In the initial period, no one believed that the size of the shared bicycle could come up to this much,” Hu Weiwei says. “I had no way to prove to the supplier that this business can be so big. And they were not willing to cooperate with us in the early stage company. In the beginning, we had no choice but to do the whole industry chain, so the self – built factory is a last choice we had.
Second, will bike sharing companies consolidate and merge together?
Hu Weiwei said that the biggest beneficiaries of the Didi and Uber war is mobile payment companies, since people use mobile payment to call a car. She remarks that bike sharing industry is different from taxi hailing industry. Didi connects the drivers with the passengers, and Mobike connects the object with the people.
“This business is really about the density and operational efficiency, and if we and the other bike sharing company does not match in this respect, it is not significant to merge with other companies, from an efficiency perspective,” she says.
Founder and present of Mobike, Hu Weiwei (Image Credit: Tech QQ)
Third, when will Mobike be profitable?
Hu Weiwei said: “If you want to make money, now we can, but now making money is not our first goal.”
Hu Weiwei said that sharing the bicycle is the first step of their Internet of Things, and there are many ways to expand this model.
“Now the profit is not the most important goal for us, and the market expansion is our main goal,” she remarks.
Fourth, how do you deal with local governments?
For Mobike to enter many cities, many challenges are inevitable, including dealing with the local governments.
In this regard, Hu Weiwei said, Mobike will not push the local government to accept them. “Generally a local government that has self-built public bicycle system does not want to accept us, and local government with no public bicycle is still very willing to accept us,” Hu Weiwei says.
She stressed that Mobike does not need the government to spend any money, and it would help solve the problem of short trips.
Regarding the problem of parking disorder, Hu Weiwei said that Mobike has been discussing the issue with local governments to solve the issue, and this will take time to solve.
Fifth, what’s Mobike’s plan for global expansion?
Hu Weiwei said that Mobike is now prepared to expand to Japan, U.K. and the U.S., and is now in cooperation with the U.S. company, Dow Chemical to make better tires for Mobike. Launched in April last year, Mobike has entered the 130 cities in the world in 14 months, with a 20 million people riding its bikes.
Six, how do you address competition with Ofo?
Hu Weiwei refused to comment on this. But she said Mobike will continue to support both the Android system and iOS system.
Source:: Mobike’s founder answers six big questions: monetization, global expansion, and the merger