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Dockless bike sharing motivated by simple clean city dream: Mobike Founder file -

 

 

 



















It had not been riches, but rather ideal dream that motivated Hu Weiwei, Founder & President of Mobike Technology Co., to start her bicycle-sharing company whose business value zoomed to more than 2 trillion won ($1.76 billion) just in two years after inception.

“I wanted to bring bikes back to the city. I wanted Beijing to be a clean air city full of humanity,” said Weiwei, 35, Founder & President of Chinese bicycle-sharing company Mobike.

The humble and naïve business motivation of a journalist-turned-entrepreneur drew enormous attention from 2,000 people gathered at Jangchung Arena in central Seoul where the 18th World Knowledge Forum (WKF) closed its three-day program on Thursday.

Hu Weiwei has been under a spotlight for her fast-growing dockless bike-sharing service after the company’s business value has surged to more than $2 billion in the first two years.

Hu’s long-time reporting experience in the transportation and IT technology sector contributed greatly to her startup project. She hunched that Beijing’s transportation system would face a big change soon due to serious traffic congestion and air pollution problems.

Her business started from an idea she heard from a venture capitalist recommending a bike-sharing service with QR code scanning to unlock a bike. The overheard story motivated her to create her own business.

“Everybody turned me down because there was no infrastructure like bicycle road or bike dock in Beijing. People warned me that if bicycles are left in the street, people will steal them away,” Hu said. “But I think nothing will change in society if you stay idle in the face of realistic constraints.”

Unlike its bike-sharing peers’ services, Mobike users have no need to hunt for a bike park on departure and arrival. Users use the Mobike app to find the nearest bike and scan the QR code to unlock it and drop it off anywhere. If users park it at a designated bike parking area, they receive more credits for a free ride. The service is paid via WeChat when the bike is unlocked.

Mobike now runs about 7 million bicycles across 180 cities in seven countries and is planning to expand its global footprint.

Mobike uses many different types of bicycles in service. Hu said her company tries to supply bikes that are specifically tailored to demands of customers in different cities, like ones wrapped with Disney characters. Mobike is in partnership with many companies including Disney, McDonald’s and Pizza Hut.

Mobike has already attracted more than 1 trillion won from big investors. In 2016, Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings and U.S. Sequoia Capital injected more than $100 million into Mobike. Early this year, Tencent and Warburg Pincus raised $215 million for Mobike. Foxconn announced its strategic investment into Mobike in late January.

Mobike users pedaled 5.6 billion kilometers in total, contributing to a carbon emissions saving of 1.26 million tons from the start of Mobike business until the end of June, which is equivalent of 350,000 cars off the road for a year.

By Yong Hwan-jin and Minu Kim

 

 

 

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