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27 January 2015|
|Headquarters||Haidian District, Beijing, China|
|Products||Dock less bicycle sharing services|
|Literal meaning||Rub + Worship + Bike (derived from Mobike CEO Wang Xiaofeng's Beijing Worship Technology Co., Ltd)|
Mobike (Chinese: 摩拜单车; pinyin: mó bài dān chē), founded by Beijing Mobike Technology Co., Ltd. (Chinese: 北京摩拜科技有限公司), is a fully station-less bicycle-sharing system headquartered in Beijing, China. It is, by the number of bicycles, the world's largest shared (for hire) bicycle operator, and in December 2016, made Shanghai the world's largest bike-share city.
In June 2017, Mobike raised $600 million in Series E funding led by Tencent, bringing the firm's fund raising in 2017 alone to nearly US$1 billion. In the same month, the company was valued at US$3 billion.
Currently Mobike operates in over 200 cities around the world. The Chinese cities include but are not limited to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Lanzhou, Ningbo, Xiamen, Foshan, Zhuhai, Changsha, Hefei, Shantou, Haikou, Deyang, Nanning, Guiyang, Xi'an, Wenzhou, Wuhan and many more. Operations in Singapore, the company's first overseas market, started on 21 March 2017. It has since expanded to serve 15 countries including China.
Mobike began to expand its operations overseas in 2017.
In Great Britain, in the summer of 2017, Mobike launched the service in its 100th city, Manchester, followed by London in September. In November 2017, Mobike removed all of its bicycles from Manchester. Although this led to rumours that the bikes were pulled out of the city due to vandalism, an official statement by the company said that the bikes would return to the city as part of a new phase of the program, with a new operation zone so as to concentrate the range that the bikes can be used in.
On 20 September 2017, Mobike’s first bike-sharing service in the United States started from Washington, D.C., United States, which became an important step for Mobike to expand their business to North America.
In Italy, Mobike began operations initially in Florence in July 2017, followed by Milan in August, Turin and Bergamo in November, Pesaro and Mantova in March 2018, Reggio Emilia in May and Bologna in June.
During early 2018, Mobike launched its operations in Santiago, Chile..
As described by the company, Mobike is intended to solve the last mile issue in which commuters face the problem of being stuck a bit too far from their destination to walk, but too close to justify the cost or delay of finding a taxi. Similar to Call a Bike in Germany, every Mobike bicycle comes with an internet-controlled electronic wheel lock that automatically unlocks but requires manual locking after use.
Mobike bicycles are powered by a small generator installed on the rear wheel hub to power the lock, or by a PV panel in some bike models. The patented disc brake is said to withstand over 10,000 kilometres of riding without failure.
Mobike bicycles come in two versions, both of which requires a scan of a unique QR-code to unlock:
The Classic Mobike, or "Mobike", is the standard variant of Mobike bicycles. It has an all-aluminium, V-shaped chassis, puncture-proof tires, and a shaft transmission system. Instead of conventional wire spokes, it uses five sets of two thick, parallel, metal rods positioned at 72° from each other to improve durability and lower maintenance costs. The identification number of each bicycle is put on the rear part of the chassis.
Renters scan the QR-code, which is displayed at the base of the handle as well as on the smart lock.
The livery is black for the seat, handlebars and the lock, orange for the wheel and metallic silver for the body.
Some users have complained about the Classic Mobike's weight and the lack of a bicycle basket (defended by Mobike as to "prevent spam advertising"), and difficulty in keeping balance on their first attempts, which kickstarted the development of Mobike's second iteration, the Mobike Lite.
Rental cost for a Classic Mobike in China is 1 yuan per 30 minutes.
Mobike Lite, known informally as "generation 2", is Mobike's compromise to a lightweight yet safe bike more suitable for everyday use. It reverted the Classic Mobike's 72-degree spokes, returning to simple wires, and used the conventional chain drive to deliver torque to the rear wheel. The identification number was moved to the right side on a plastic panel that protects the chain. The QR code that is on the base of the handle is moved to the tip of the rear fender.
The Mobike Lite comes with a net-like metal basket, which can hold bags or other belongings, and features a solar panel that powers the QR lock and GPS tracker. The wheels were coloured orange to differentiate the bike from Classic Mobikes.
Unlike Classic Mobikes, the rental cost for a Mobike Lite in China is at 0.5 yuan per 30 minutes.
Neither the Classic Mobike nor the Mobike Lite of the first generation comes with an adjustable seat, which is another issue criticized by users.
According to a company press release, small batches of second generation Mobikes, both Classic and Lite, are being deployed in areas of service. Reports indicate that the second generation bicycles use a more durable aluminium kickstand rather than the formerly used hard plastic ones. Also mentioned is the new hydraulic adjustable seat installed on Generation 2 bicycles through depression of a small metal tab near the base of the seat. Finally, the second generation Classic Mobikes now also have a basket.
The colour scheme of the second generation Mobike Lite is changed to orange for the inner rim, and reverts to black for the tyre.
Access to Mobike bicycles is achieved using the purpose-built Mobike application, which requires a pre-paid 299 yuan – Or equivalent country specific currency- fee to prevent deliberate damage of Mobike property and ensure the user supplied bank details are correct. Each user is required to register using their mobile number alongside their national identification number. The software automatically disallows users under the age of 14 to use the app, through the identification number.
To use a bicycle, the user presses a black button near the bottom labeled "Scan & Ride" (Chinese: 扫码开锁), which brings up a QR code scanning interface, which requires the user to place the QR code of a bicycle into the scanning area. The software will then produce a low-toned beep to indicate a success in scanning the code. After a successful scan a progress bar will appear on the screen, indicating the "unlocking in progress". With a successful unlock, the electronic lock on the bike will produce three short beeps followed by the characteristic "tuk" sound generated by the lock opening. In the app, the progress bar fills to 100%, and the notice "Unlock successful" (Chinese: 开锁成功) appears for a short period before getting replaced by the rental timing interface. This interface also records the distance travelled, time spent, energy the user spent using the vehicles (in kilocals), and an orange banner indicating the number of the bike and the estimated cost of using the bike. The first three stats shown on the interface will be added to the total value on the user page, while the cost will be deducted from the user's account. If several seconds elapse after the bar fills to 98% without starting the trip in the app, an error will be reported to the user asking them to try again or change to another bicycle.
As Mobike has no offline services, the Mobike app only accepts online transactions through AliPay or WeChat Pay. Pre-paid, refundable registration cost is 299 yuan which will be necessary to deposit in order to use the service. To ease the process, each user is required to have at least 1 yuan in their account (excluding the registration cost, which is fixed at 299 yuan and inaccessible in normal use) before using Mobike bicycles. If a user has no money (or a debt) in their account and attempts to ride, the account value page will appear instead with a popup notice requiring them to charge their wallet before using a bike.
After manually locking the bike, the lock itself will produce two short beeps indicating it has been locked, followed by a faster three-note beep after receiving the payment.
Mobike allows negative account values, which means that a user is currently owing a certain amount of money, shown with a minus mark on their account value page. These users, as they satisfy the criteria of "account value below 1", are disallowed to use Mobike bicycles until they settle their debt and have at least 1 yuan in their account.
Users are free to withdraw the deposit from the service at any time given their account has a value of no less than zero yuan. They are free to re-join the service at any time in the future. Users with debts however, are not allowed to do so until they get rid of the debt.
The Mobike app uses a "Mobike Score" system to keep track of user behavior. The score system consists of five levels: Outstanding (1000–701), Excellent (700–601), Good (600–501), Fair (500–301), Poor (300–0). In the future, users' Mobike Score will affect fares and use of the system. Every new user automatically starts with a “Good” score of 550 points.
Users will be awarded points for various actions such as reporting any problems with the system or parking in preferred areas with higher demand, and will lose points for actions that negatively impact the use of the system. Users with a score of 100 or below will see their account suspended. If a user believes that their score has been reduced by mistake, the issue can be reported to the "Negative Records" page, and the staff will evaluate the situation.
Mobike has several problems with practicality. Many residents complain about the parking problems caused. Since Mobike's purpose is to make accessing their bikes to be more convenient, the bikes do not have well-established places to park. This may result in users parking the Mobikes stacked on top of each other and in turn block roads and sidewalks.
Another problem is Mobike's foreign market, with the development of increasingly Mobike entering in foreign countries such as UK in London and Manchester. People's use with bicycles in international locations differs greatly from domestic customers, including higher rates of abuse. 
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