(Yicai Global) Oct. 23 -- Chinese bike-sharing operator Beijing Mobike Technology Co. has integrated state-backed Shouqi Limousine & Chauffeur Beijing Ltd.'s car-hailing services into its mobile app in across multiple Chinese cities, including Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Xi'an, Tianjin, Hefei, Xiamen, Fuzhou, and Qingdao.
China's bike sharers are looking for new ways to compete with their industry counterparts amid increasing regulation on the distribution of new bicycles.
When using Mobike's ride-hailing functions, users may pay their bill using their accounts and also check the distance of rides in the My Trips section, with invoices available.
Integrating Shouqi's services in the Mobike app allows users the convenience of not needing to switch apps when wanting to change their desired mode of transport. The cooperation between the companies follows a deal agreed last month, which made Shouqi the the bike-sharing giant's exclusive third-party ride-hailing supplier, a Mobike insider said.
It is unclear if the private-car hire services function acts independently of bike-sharing functions. However, the firm has partially transferred some bike-sharing operations to its ride-hailing services team in some cities, the insider said.
"After the ban on new bikes, the bike-sharing industry has matured to an extent, and it is now hard to attract new users" he added. "Therefore, we need new, better growth directions and new business." Given lessons learnt from the take-out and online car-hailing sectors, it is best to avoid competing by offering users discounts which can lead to considerable costs.
Mobike has released three open platforms for lifestyle services, Big Data and the Internet of Things since May this year. The firm integrated ride-hailing on the customer service app of China United Network Communications Ltd. [SHA:600050], one of the country's big three mobile operators and better known as China Unicom.
Other apps that have now integrated Mobike's bicycle-sharing services include ride-hailing firm Ucar Inc. [NEEQ:838006; HKG:00699] and Chinese search giant Baidu Inc.'s [NASDAQ:BIDU] map app.
Cooperation among travel services companies is emerging as an industry trend. The combination of short-distance and long-distance travel services help solve problems in specific scenarios, enabling service suppliers to fulfill the demands of more users and better retain them.
"It is inevitable for bike-sharing companies to extend their line of business to taxi services given the current traveling demands," said Yu Yi, the founder of Shanghai-based bike-sharer U-Bicycle Ltd. "Bike-sharing companies are bringing users from other less popular apps to its platform, whereupon they can offer users more services."
Some see Mobike's car-hailing service as constituting competition against China's most popular ride-hailing service, Didi Chuxing, which after investing in Ofo, a Chinese bicycle-sharing platform owned by Beijing Bikelock Technology Co., added its services to the company's app.