Mobike, China’s shared bicycle giant, will officially enter the Japanese market this year starting with Tokyo in June. Mobike will enter several Japanese cities this year with 30,000 bicycles. Mobike will cooperate with convenience store giants and restaurant chains to set up dedicated spaces to park bicycles in their shops. If Japanese consumers can use Mobike conveniently, it may quickly become a popular choice of transport.
In addition to working with three convenience store giants, Mobike is also working with Japanese McDonald’s, Starbucks Coffee Japan (Tokyo) and other food and beverage giants to establish private parking places for shared bicycles outside the shops.
Mobike will also work with local governments and real estate companies to develop 4,000 parking lots in vacant lands this year.
Unlike China, where users can basically park bicycles anywhere, Japan has tight regulations on parking. Dedicated bicycle parks must be set up by shared cycling companies. Therefore, Mobike will work extensively with companies that own parking lots to explore the Japanese market.
For companies, the cooperation could bring benefits such as attracting more consumers. Some restaurant chains are considering discounts for Mobike users.
In Japan, Mobike has launched pilot services in Fukuoka. Mobike bicycles are equipped with a communication function that enables users to search for the nearby idle bicycles via a smartphone app. With the app, users could make appointments and payments, and even unlock bicycles.
The use fee is 50 yen ($0.47) per 30 minutes. Users will be able to pay via credit card or the LINE application mobile phone payment feature.
The Japanese government is promoting shared bicycles that benefit health and the environment. Many foreign tourists use bicycles in tourist attractions. Large companies such as Yahoo and Mercari (Tokyo) have also been involved in this market.