Mobike, a major Chinese smart bike sharing brand, announced its entry into the Malaysian market on Wednesday, as more bike sharing players cast their sights on the region.
Mobike put "several hundred" of its smart dock-less bikes, which were all transported from China, into operation in Shah Alam of the Selangor state and will move into the capital city of Kuala Lumpur within year-end, it announced at the launch event.
The start-up accelerated Mobike's expansion steps recently, after authorities in China put a brake on the deployment of new smart bikes in a over-saturated market. It started its service in London in August and made bike sharing available at a university in Thailand.
With Mobike's launch in Malaysia, all three major players tried to take the first-mover advantage in Southeast Asia, including Obike, a Singapore-based Brand and Ofo from China, which just in July launched its service in Malacca, a tourist resort area.
Without doubt, bike sharing will face some challenges here. Chris Martin, vice president of International expansion of Mobike, said being too hot and a lack of bike lanes may be the problem here in Malaysia.
According to Sanjey Chandran, an international launcher of Mobike, by partnering with local insurance providers, users of the service will be covered if there are accidents involved in the usage. Aside from supportive measures from the government of Shah Alam, he added that more partners will be included as Mobike scales up.
In a sign of confidence, Martin said the company has secured more than 100 million registered users and more than 25 million daily rides, and has deployed more than seven million smart bikes in more than 170 cities.
"Bike sharing is more compliacted than just putting the bikes on the street," said Martin, adding that Mobike has managed to change people's usage of bike in dozens of other places.