Uber has inspired so many on-demand services that the phrase ‘the Uber of _____’ has become more than a little tired.
This time, however, we’ve come across a service that is not only Uber-like in spirit and interface, but also in its team makeup.
Founded by Davis Wang, a former executive of UberChina, Mobike is an on-demand bicycle rental service. Like Uber, Mobike’s app features a simple interface that tracks your location and shows available bicycles nearby. Users can book a bike 15 minutes before using it, and use an in-app navigation service to find it.
Riders scan a QR code to unlock the bikes, which are provided by the company, and the journey ends when the user re-locks their ride.
Public bicycle rental is nothing new in China. The government has tested similar projects in several cities to ease transpiration pressures in big cities. But for most of the current bike rental services in the country, riders have to to lock their bike to a special kiosk or bike station along their trip.
Mobike allows riders to lock the bike to any standard bike rack, so they can always park close to their destination. The bike’s return is recorded by GPS data. Once checked back in, the bike is immediately available to another customer.
The app also helps users track health metrics, such as distance traveled and calories burned. First-time users have to pay an refundable deposit of 299 RMB ($44.7 USD) and the services is charged at a flat rate of 1 yuan per 30 minutes no matter where you are.
The services is now operating in Shanghai with over 10,000 bikes in the city, according to Davis Wang.