Look like bike sharing is the next Uber. After oBike quiet launch earlier this month, there’s already a new player in town.
Ofo is a China-based company that provides similar stationless bike rental service as oBike, allowing users to rent and collect bicycles from designated parking areas in parks or malls through a mobile app.
Unlocking ofo bikes, however, requires a bit more effort. oBike has an automatic lock which opens simply by scanning a QR code on the bike whereas ofo will send you a 4-digit code for unlocking the bike manually.
ofo clearly doesn’t want to lose the race to oBike, despite being late to the game here in Singapore. As a launch promotion, ofo is charging only 50 cents per trip, which means you could ride for hours without incurring additional charges. oBike in comparison charges a dollar for every 30 minutes and a refundable $49 deposit.
Three is a crowd
Besides oBike and ofo, Mobike is the third China-based bike-share startup that will be launching soon in Singapore as well. Despite being the newer and smaller startup in China, Mobike has secure a large funding from investors such as Tencent, Sequoia Capital and Singapore’s Vertex.
Mobike’s bicycles are the prettiest out of the three and a somewhat more sophisticated. They are maintenance free up to four years, made of aluminium to prevent rust and corrosion, features airless tyres and a concealed transmission so users won’t have to deal with chains coming off. Mobike locks are also solar powered, removing the need to replace them often.
Mobike has also recently set up a Singapore-specific site which suggests we will be seeing their bikes on the road very soon. Similar to oBike, Mobike charges a dollar per 30 minutes and users can preload credits from the app.
Things are heating up as these bike-share startups try to capture the Singapore market, which isn’t a bad thing at all. It could well kick-start a healthier biking culture here and make commuting to and from train stations/bus terminals a lot more convenient.