Mobike Hits the Brakes on its Singapore Branch

Not long after Chinese bike-sharing start-up Ofo withered away, its longtime rival Mobike has begun to withdraw from overseas markets.

On March 11, the Chinese bike-sharing pioneer applied to surrender its bike-sharing license in Singapore, as confirmed by the Land Transport Authority (LTA).

“The decision is part of a plan to rationalize Mobike’s operations in Southeast Asia. We’re tremendously proud of what we achieved in Singapore, and would like to thank everyone who both rode with us and worked for us,” Mobike explained.

Mobike Singapore office
Mobike Singapore office. Image Credit: Vulcan Post

LTA said on Tuesday it is assessing Mobike’s request, and will work with the company to ensure that it has fully explored all options, including its proposal to transfer existing assets or operations to existing licensees, in order to minimize impact on consumers, according to Channel NewsAsia.

This is another one of Mobike’s steps to retreat to the domestic market. Last Friday, Mobike decided to dissolve branches in Singapore, Malaysia, India, Australia and other Asian-Pacific regions. Operations in Europe and the U.S. are also facing shut-down.

“We are seeking to optimize our international business. On the principle of improving operational efficiency and protecting users’ rights, Mobike will close in some countries in Asia. And we will continue to evaluate other countries and regions. Those that do not meet our efficiency standards will be closed or optimized,” said Mobike.

As local regulations tighten, Mobike is the third Chinese bike-sharing company faced with problems in Singapore, after Ofo’s suspension in February 2019 and oBike’s exit in 2018. Last year, LTA asked bike-sharing companies to cut its number of bikes. They complained that nearly a half of the 100,000 bikes allocated in Singapore were not in active use.

Apart from regulations from the supervision department, the company’s financial burden aggravated the situation. Before it was acquired by Meituan Dianping, a Chinese online food delivery-to-ticketing firm, it suffered from a deficit of 681 million Chinese yuan. It still struggles in financial difficulties as can be seen in their financial reports.

Can this retreat revitalize Mobike, or will it fall like previous giant Ofo? Only time will tell.

Featured Image Source: Financial Time