In a move that has the potential to reshape the look and feel of many cities one of China’s biggest “dockless bike share” companies Mobike will announce today that it will officially launch in Manchester and Salford.
The plan from Mobike – which operates 5 million bikes in China and is backed by Foxconn and internet giant Tencent – has the blessing of both city councils and Transport for Greater Manchester. It will kick off at the end of June with an initial 1000 bikes and is likely to expand dramatically from there.
Beijing-based bike share company Ofo has started on a small scale in Cambridge but has ambitious expansion plans
Unlike in most western schemes where shared bikes are rented from docks in China many urban residents instead find available bikes via GPS and an app and then unlock it with their phone. The “Uber for bikes” model has also seen virulent competition and bikes littered haphazardly around cities or dumped by the hundreds in bushes and alleyways.
Mobike’s announcement means it will competing overseas with one of its most successful domestic competitors Ofo who are also gearing up for global expansion.