/Tencent invests in Mobike, further fueling the ofo vs Mobike war

Tencent invests in Mobike, further fueling the ofo vs Mobike war

Mobike has completed a new financing round, winning funding from Chinese tech giant Tencent, alongside other investors.

Mobike made the official announcement of the new round of financing over its official account on WeChat, China’s leading social network. Investors in this round included its early supporters like Sequoia Capital, Hillhouse Capital and Panda Capital, as well as some new names like Bertelsmann, Tencent, and Wang Xing, the founder of  Meituan – the “Chinese Groupon”.

Chinese bike sharing firms Mobike and ofo seem to be showing more and more similarities, as both businesses further develop.

Mobike’s major rival ofo announced its new capital injection of USD 130 million a mere three days ago. In the current list of ofo’s investors are China’s leading ride-hailing firm Didi, smartphone maker Xiaomi, and investment firms like Matrix Partners China, GSR Ventures, and Coatue.

Mobikes in Shanghai.
Mobikes in Shanghai.

Mobike started by manufacturing its own bikes, with a unit cost of about RMB 3,000 (USD 449) and a weight estimated to be at 25kg. The company initially put its bikes in certain downtown areas of China’s first-tier cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

Now Mobike has expanded its bike sharing services into universities, areas that could be claimed as “ofo’s turf”, given that ofo started out on university campuses. Additionally, Mobike is rumored to be testing a new lighter bike, with a unit cost of around RMB 1,000.

Ofo has been remodelling common bikes by adding uniform plates and locks, at a unit cost of about RMB 200. However, after ofo upgraded the hardware of its bikes in early October, the unit cost has been increased to RMB 500, half of Mobike’s new bike.

Ofo also aims to bring its service out of campuses to benefit more urban residents.

As Mobike lowers costs and enters campuses, and ofo increases its costs and goes out of the campuses, the two companies seem to be consistent in one thing: to share more bikes to more users, and achieve dominance in what could be the next big thing in the sharing economy.

(All photos from Mobike’s Weibo)