The ‘Mobike’ bike-sharing service has just been launched in the Chinese city of Shanghai, helping to complement other personal transport options available there.

Bike-sharing without specific hubs: new mobility solution in Shanghai

Beijing MoBike Technology Co launched in May a self-service bike-sharing system based on a mobile app. Over 1,000 bicycles have been made available in Shanghai city centre, going some way towards alleviating the pressing problems of traffic jams and pollution.

The bikes are installed with electronic chips, GPS and sensors in order to make it easy for people to locate them. What’s novel about Mobike compared with solutions such as the ten-year-old Vélib' (‘Freebike’) service in Paris is that after you’ve used a bike for your journey you don’t have to find a hub, you can just drop it off in the designated zone closest to your destination.
To use the system, you will need to download the app to your phone and local people have to supply their national identity number. Non-Chinese nationals are asked to supply a passport photo.
Mobike geolocates available bikes close to where the user is currently located. S/he can then book a bike, go and find it and then scan its QR code to unlock it and ride it away. So the rider only needs his/her smartphone to access the service. This Shanghai bike-sharing solution, which looks to be a more advanced version of Vélib' and similar services available in many cities, might be worth replicating.


By Céline Zhu
Analyste stratégique pour L'Atelier Asia