China’s streets are fast getting flooded with electric two-wheelers. And the latest to join the race is Hellobike. However, the company is not a new player in this market. It first started out in 2016 by launching shared bikes in the country’s smaller towns and cities. It was at a time when bike-sharing was a huge craze among the Chinese population and investors too saw huge potential in the market.
The fad slowly started dying out though and shared bikes lost that momentum. But now there is a new growing demand in the Chinese market for electric shared bikes and Hellobike is back in the race.
Thanks to the funds received by Ant Financial, via its Series D to F funding rounds, Hellobike has now launched a series of mobility services. These include shared e-bikes and electric scooters for hire which are now available to the company’s nearly 230 million registered users.
Interestingly, when Hellobike first launched services in China three years ago, it deliberately chose to operate in smaller regions where its arch rivals Ofo and Mobike were not present. And today, the latter two companies seem to be in bad shape while Hellobike has managed a strong comeback in the electric bike market.
While Ofo is dealing with a financial crisis trying to pay back deposits from its users (after the shared-bike craze slowed down), Mobike’s rapid expansion also seems to have halted after its sell-off to Meituan, a Hong-Kong listed local services leader. Hellobike, on the other hand, has been priding on operational efficiency ever since.
Talking about the dispute between its two top rivals, Ofo and Mobike, Fischer Chen, Chief Financial Officer Hellobike told TechCrunch at the Rise conference in Hong Kong, “When the two major powers were at war, neither of them went after electric bikes. They were fighting over bicycles. As such, there was no price war for e-bikes from the outset. The competition is rational.”