Chinese bike-sharing startup Mobike snags strategic investment from Foxconn

Just weeks after landing a $215 million Series D funding round, Chinese bike-sharing service Mobike has scooped up a strategic investment from manufacturing giant Foxconn, the firm that helps Apple and others produce electronic devices.

Mobike isn’t disclosing the size of the Foxconn deal, but a company spokesperson did confirm that it is separate to the Series D, which was led by Tencent.

The one-year-old company is targeting an international expansion this year, as we wrote after this month’s earlier funding was announced, and it said that this alliance with Foxconn will help it scale up its fleet of bikes accordingly.

The Mobike service deploys GPS-enabled bikes across cities which can be picked up and rented by users who have the company’s mobile app. For that reason, it needs a large fleet of bikes on the streets, and thus it is bulking up on its production. It believes that, working with Foxconn, it can more than double its output to reach 10 million new bikes per year. It also said the union can reduce its overall production cost, and lower the distribution costs of placing bikes worldwide by locating production hubs in strategic areas.

“In 2017, we aim to enable residents in a hundred cities in China and internationally to enjoy our unique and convenient solution to the global challenge of last-mile travel, and Foxconn is the ideal partner to support these ambitious expansion plans,” Davis Wang, co-founder and CEO of Mobike, said in a statement.

“Foxconn is actively seeking to maximize the potential of internet-driven smart manufacturing. This partnership with Mobike is a great example of how we can use this expertise to address the challenges of urban transportation and deliver greater convenience to consumers,” added Foxconn Senior Vice President James Du.

Foxconn’s other tech investments include high-end audio maker Devialet, SoftBank robot Pepper, AR display firm DigiLens, and France-based IOT company Actility.

Mobike began offering its service in Shanghai in April 2016 and today it is present in 13 cities across China. The company hasn’t said exactly how many bikes it has deployed, but it claims to have over 100,000 bikes in each of its top cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. Beyond Tencent and Foxconn, its investors include Warburg Pincus, travel firm Ctrip, Huazhu Hotels Group, Sequoia China and Hillhouse Capital.