To further bank upon the growing popularity of bike-hailing startups in China, Mobike has taken a significant step to further simplify access to its bikes to an even larger audience across the country. The company today announced that it has partnered with its leading investor Tencent to bring its smart-bike leasing services to China’s largest social networking platform WeChat.
Under this partnership, Mobike’s bike leasing functionality will be added to WeChat in the ‘miniapp’ in the Wallet section. Users of the Messaging App, which are close to 880 million per month, will be able to directly launch the same and scan the QR code to unlock the bike. The concept of miniapps, a feature which enables users to access certain third-party apps directly within the messaging app, has been popularized by WeChat.
And now, Mobike is one of those third-party miniapps that add to the usability of the platform and gain access to the massive audience using the messaging app to simplify their lives on the daily. Even Mobike’s co-founder and CTO Joe Xia has accepted this undeniable fact and said,
Through this integration with WeChat, we offer their massive user base a number of new ways to quickly and conveniently access Mobike’s service. Moreover, WeChat’s unrivaled reach right across China enables us to bring our offering to even more urban travelers and further our mission of bringing more bikes to more cities through our truly smart biking platform.
As for this collaboration, this doesn’t particularly as a huge surprise. Tencent is one of the prominent investors in Mobike and led the $215 million Series D funding round for the company. This round also saw participation from Private Equity firm Warburg Pincus. It should be cleared out at this instant that WeChat is a messaging platform, rival to those like WhatsApp or Messenger, developed by the Chinese giant Tencent.
Talking about this partnership, Zhaohui Li, GM of Investment and M&A at Tencent and Partner at Tencent Investment Management, said
We share Mobike’s commitment to advocating cycling as a convenient and effective solution to the last mile transport challenge, and we are delighted to offer our users an even more convenient Mobike experience.
This integration will make Mobike’s around 1 million bikes available to an even larger audience — a plus point that we cannot ignore to emphasize upon. It will definitely give the company an advantage over its fiercest rival, Ofo, which is expanding at the flash speed. The latter was recently visited by Apple CEO Tim Cook, a meeting which was arranged by their leading investor Didi Chuxing — yeah, the same ride-hailing startup which consumed Uber China last year.
Both of these companies are currently involved in a battle as fierce as the one Uber and Didi Chuxing were involved for grabbing the larger chunk of market share. And their coffers are also plush with heavy investments, Mobike recently secured close to $85 million from Foxconn and Temasek whereas Ofo raked in $450 million from DST, Didi Chuxing, Matrix China and CITIC. And the latter has now been named a unicorn.
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