(Yicai Global) Feb. 27 -- China's bike-sharing giant Beijing Mobike Technology Co., better known as Mobike, steps into the Middle Eastern market by rolling out about 1,000 bicycles in five cities in Israel and providing 24-hour hailing service in the first batch, The Times of Israel reported.
Mobike will offer shared-bike services in central and northern Israeli cities of Rehovot, Rishon LeZion, Kadima-Tzoran, Qiryat Motzkin and Qiryat Bialik next week, said Liran Gilboa, Mobike's Israel project manager. Users can enjoy free trial after signing up for the service using their credit cards.
The bikes are Mobike's first generation models, equipped with smart locks and automatic positioning devices. Multi-speed bicycles will also be put into use in the coming weeks, Gilboa confirmed.
Mobike has signed cooperation agreements with some Israeli universities and is expected to start service in "one of the largest universities in Israel" in a few weeks' time, Gilboa told the newspaper.
Mobike's partner in Israel is car2go, a large car-sharing company owned by Germany's Daimler AG, said Gilboa, and the bike-sharing service provider hopes to learn the needs of local customers with the existing resources of car2go in Israel and "respond immediately."
As the competition in the domestic bike-sharing market gets fierce, China's shared bicycle giants try to actively expand into overseas markets and are now operating in many major cities around the world. Mobike's major rival Ofo operated by Beijing Bikelock Technology Co. has already taken the lead in entering Tel Aviv and some universities in Israel as early as last October.