A TV reporter tries out a shared bicycle in Sapporo, Japan, on Aug. 22, 2017. (Photo: Xinhua/Hua Yi)
Mobike, one of China's largest bike-sharing companies, is to launch from Wednesday a bike-sharing service in Sapporo of Hokkaido prefecture, marking the bike-sharing giant's debut in Japan and another step to explore the overseas market.
The first batch of some 100 bikes have been placed on parking spots provided by Mobike's local partners, and users could ride the bikes from Wednesday after registering on the Mobike APP on their cellphone and tying their accounts with their credit card, said the company at a launching ceremony on Tuesday in Sapporo.
A Mobike ride will cost 50 yen (0.46 U.S. dollars) per 30 minutes, and users need to pay a deposit fee of 3,000 yen (27.46 U.S. dollars) when they use it for the first time, according to the company.
For Chinese tourists who already have a Mobike account in China, they can go on using it in Japan, and they do not need to create a new account or to pay a deposit fee again, said the company.
Chris Martin, Mobike's head of international expansion, said that the number of bikes provided is expected to grow according to the need of local customers, and Mobike plans to start services in 10 Japanese cities by the end of this year.
Hiroaki Akao, vice chairman of local convenience store chain Seicomart, a cooperation partner of Mobike, said that the store chain hopes to attract more customers by providing parking spots for sharing-bike users.
After huge success in the domestic market, Chinese bike-sharing companies are accelerating their steps into the global market.
Mobike, for instance, has quickly expanded since it started in China's Shanghai in 2016. It has begun operations in Italy, Singapore and Britain.
Mobike's main rival ofo Inc. has announced that it will start bike-sharing services in Tokyo and Osaka next month in a tie-up with a company in the SoftBank group.