Xiaomi-Backed Baicycle Enters China's Bike-Sharing Battle
While Mobike and ofo are competing fiercely in major cities across China, Baicycle, backed up Xiaomi’s smart hardware ecosystem, recently entered the battle in the Chinese bike sharing market in high-profile.
According to public data, Baicycle had completed angel round of financing led by Xiameng iRiding Technology, which is known as part of Xiaomi’s smart hardware ecosystem. It is reported that the first batch of Baicycle’s bicycles will be available for renting in costal cities such as Xiamen, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, etc. since January 1st.
Huang Weixiang, founder and CEO of iRiding, was confident that Baicycle could attract users with its high-quality bikes (easy to ride & fancy design) and build up a good reputation.
According to Phoenix Technology, Mobike’s bicycles are very similar to Mobike’s since they all adopted GPS system and smart locks and the unit that powers these functions are set in the rear bearing wheel. However, Baicycle’s bike adopts an integrated body and a carbon fiber belt chain, which enables the bike to withstand twice more tension than bikes equipped with common chain.
The current design of the bike makes it possible to place backup battery in the bike frame, so it is likely Baicycle’s bikes will be transformed into electrical bike in the future. In an interview, Huang revealed that as long as electrical power steering system was adopted, users will be able to ride the bike for 3 to 10 kilometers instead of 1 to 3 kilometers.
He Xiangming, co-founder and CEO of Baicycke, revealed once that Baicycle might cooperate with 7-11 and set up quick charge piles and battery replacing centers in front of 7-11s.
Users will be able to use Baicycle’s bikes both as an ordinary bike and as an electrical bike, though the pricing model will be different. In addition, Baicycle APP and iRiding APP will share their user data with each other, and the Baicycle APP will help users know better their using habit and location of Baicycle’s bikes nearly by providing users with travelling route.
However, Baicycle is a late entrant in the Chinese bike sharing market. He Xiangming revealed that it took Baicycle almost a year to get fully-prepared, know better the market and adopt a targeted market strategy.
For Baicycle, it is necessary to cooperate with the government: to make full use of government resources and turn shared bikes into part of city infrastructure. Besides, disorderly competition will be avoided through government regulations. For Huang Weixiang, internet model provides the government with another alternative, and the goal of both the government and shared bike platforms is similar: to make the city a better place.
Since last July, Baicycle had already been negotiating with local governments in various cities over how to match and complement existing public infrastructures and enter cities in a more orderly manner. For example, old-aged people who don’t know anything about mobile payment will be able to rent Baicycle’s bikes by Citizen Cards.
In Guangzhou, Baicycle’s bikes are under testing together with Subway Line 6 and special parking spots fo Baicycle’s bikes are set up near the entrance of Line 6’s stations.
Baicycle's goal is to enter 30 second-tier cities across China in 2017, provide at least 5,000 bikes in each city and add more bikes based on local demands. At the same time, Baicycle plans to deepen cooperation with local governments. Up till now, Baicycle has already signed up Cooperation Intention papers with eight city governments. Within this January, over 200,000 Baicycle’s bikes will be available for renting.
Compared to other bike sharing platforms, Baicycle can utilize more resources as a member of Xiaomi’s smart hardware ecosystem. “There are already nearly half a hundred different types of companies inside Xiaomi’s smart hardware system, and Baicycle is free to directly utilize all resources in the ecosystem,” Huang Weixiang maintained. In the future, Baicycle will also cooperate with Xiaomi.com, Xiaomi’s App Store, Xiaomi Store as well as Xiaomi’s offline retailing stores Mi Home, etc.
Moreover, iRiding is a huge support for Baicycle in terms of hardware manufacturing. Xiaomi’s other resources, including contract manufacturing factories, data communication capability and IoT experience are all open to Baicycle.
It is worth noticing that Baicycle is also eyeing overseas. For example, Baicycle and Mobike will both be bidding for Singapore’s bike sharing projects.
Yet, the inconvenient truth is that both Mobike and ofo haven’t found the appropriate revenue model. As to this problem, Huang said that Baicyle wasn’t in a hurry to make profit and their goal was simply to make ends meet through data models at the primary stage. “Among over thirty existing bike sharing platforms in China, less than five are capable to ‘fight’,” he revealed.
[The article is published and edited with authorization from the author @TMTpost-Chinese, please note source and hyperlink when reproduce.]
Translated by Levin Feng (Senior Translator at PAGE TO PAGE), working for TMTpost.