After the launch of China's bicycle sharing startup Ofo, in December, another similar startup from China is all set to foray into India. According to a report, app-based bicycle-sharing platform Mobike is on verge of making its entry into the Indian market in the next few weeks and is in advanced discussions with authorities in various cities to start services.

Mobike, which offers services in 16 countries across over 200 cities, was acquired by Chinese firm Meituan Dianping for an estimated USD 2.7 billion last month.

"We are in advanced stages of discussions with authorities of various cities in India and are also looking at smart city projects. We want to be a part of the India story. We are looking at launching our services here in the next couple of weeks," Mobike India CEO Vibhor Jain told PTI. These cities include Nagpur, Delhi, Bengaluru, Pune and Ahmedabad, among others, he added.

Jain said the company is also in discussions with corporate parks and educational institutes in the country for introducing its platform.

He, however, declined to comment on the amount of funds designated for the Indian market or the number of bikes that will be made available for Indian users.

Mobike will compete with the likes of ofo and Olas Pedal in India. Alibaba-backed ofo has already clocked 1.1 million rides in India by the end of March this year with operations in seven cities, including Indore, Ahmedabad, Coimbatore and Pune.

[caption id="attachment_124408" align="aligncenter" width="995"]Mobike Mobike[/caption]

In December last year, Ola said it was piloting bicycles on various campuses in the country to promote use of environment-friendly means of transportation. Prior to this, Zoomcar had too launched its bicycle-rental service PEDL, in October last year.

InMobi co-founder Amit Gupta recently stepped down to launch its new venture which too is bicycle sharing startup Yulu.

Coming back to Mobike, its platform has nine million bicycles, which sees about 30 million rides being taken every day. The 2-year-old Chinese startup has about 200 million registered users and is present in 16 countries, including the US, the UK, Israel, Germany, France, South Korea and Chile.

Its Internet of Things (IoT)-powered bicycles are equipped with GPS and proprietary smart-lock technology that enable users to find a bike near them, reserve and unlock it using Mobikes app. After reaching their destination, the user can park the bike in any bike-friendly location and lock it, automatically making the bike available to the next rider.

The bicycles feature chainless shaft transmission, have non-puncture airless tires, a lightweight anti-rust aluminum frame, and can offer an estimated four years of repair-free cycling.

Jain said that, apart from providing an alternative mode of transport for the last mile connectivity, the insights from ridership patterns can help public authorities plan for future infrastructure development.

Jain explained that the company is focussing on last mile connectivity, say to the nearest metro or train station.

"There are various use cases for using our services. Some have adopted it for health reasons (cycling) or see it as an independent mode of transport as they dont have to depend on someone to drive them. Some dont want to wait for a cab to show up and dont mind riding 3-4 kms," he said.

He added that the company is also working on various cashless payment modules, both for pay-as-you-go and subscription options.

Mobike had raised capital from Tencent, Xiaomi, Sequoia China and Singaporean sovereign fund Temasek among others, and a $215 million Series D round of its own in January 2017. This was followed by a whopping $85 million in additional capital via strategic investments from Temasek and Foxconn.

It is interesting to note here that India, the country with the second largest population just behind China, has still not been able to capitalise the big potential that the space holds. Though there are many startups trying to make a mark in the space in the country, none has been able to achieve success on the same scale as China's Ofo and Mobike.

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