Mobike partners with LINE to take on Japanese market

Mobike, a smart dockless bikeshare company, has launched a strategic partnership with LINE Corporation, the company behind one of Japan’s most popular mobile messaging platform, LINE.

Under the terms of the partnership, LINE Corporation is leading a Series A round of investment in Mobike Japan which is focused on expansion in the Japanese market, by taking the largest minority stake, at under 20%. Mobike and LINE Corporation will also work together on a series of initiatives to promote the adoption of smart dockless bikesharing in Japan.

Takeshi Idezawa, president and CEO of LINE Corporation, said: “The LINE messenger app is used as a communications tool by more than 71 million monthly users in Japan. Through this capital investment and strategic business partnership with Mobike, we can support the expansion of Mobike’s service in Japan by leveraging our network of local governments and private companies that make use of our various activities and services."

"Bike sharing has garnered much attention has in recent years, and I'm very pleased that we can develop business in cooperation with not only Mobike, which has developed the largest bike sharing service in the world, but also with Mobike Japan. Through this partnership, we are keen to provide additional services that make life more convenient and comfortable for LINE users.”

Over the next several months, the two companies will work together to integrate Mobike functionality to the LINE app as the exclusive bikesharing service, enabling LINE’s 71 million users to sign up and use Mobike directly from LINE. LINE users in cities where Mobike is present will be able to unlock a Mobike simply by scanning the QR code on the bike with their LINE app, and pay using their LINE Pay account or other payment methods.

Hu Weiwei, founder and president of Mobike, said: “LINE is the clear leader in Japan’s social media space, with a strong culture of innovation and creativity, and therefore, is the perfect partner to support our ambitious growth plans in Japan. Mobike brings the best quality smart bikes specifically designed for dockless bike sharing, and an Internet-of-Things (IoT)-based operation platform to serve local users and communities in Japan."

Hu added that working together with LINE, the company will be able to provide tens of millions of LINE users with a seamless and localised experience for finding, unlocking and paying for bikes with the LINE app.

"Our ambition in Japan is to work with industry leading Japanese partners like LINE, as well as local governments and communities, to bring Mobike to more cities in Japan and to set the global standard for bikesharing,” he added.

The partnership furthers Mobike’s global strategy to integrate in local markets and build responsible local operations. By creating a locally-integrated Japanese entity, working with strategic local partners, and marshalling a team of the best local talent and experience Mobike is able to capitalise on deep local knowledge, experience, and resources.

Mobike Japan is led by GM Noboru Kinoshita and has already launched in the Japanese city of Sapporo. The company plans to launch in more cities around Japan throughout 2018 in cooperation with local governments and city councils.