Temasek jumps into China’s bike-rental startup war with investment in Mobike

Temasek, Singapore’s state-owned investment firm, has jumped into China’s on-demand cycle war after it backed Mobike.

China’s ride-sharing war is last year’s news. The big battle between Uber and Didi Chuxing is essentially over after the latter agreed to buy the former’s China-based business. The new startup drama du jour is in bikes — services that let you find a rental in the city using a mobile app and GPS-enabled cycles — and Mobike is the busiest startup out there.

Beijing-based Mobike announced a $215 million Series D round led by Tencent in early January, and a strategic investment from manufacturing giant Foxconn weeks later. Today, it revealed a new (and also undisclosed) investment led by Temasek, an early Alibaba investor that backed Uber rival Grab in Southeast Asia, with participation from existing backer Hillhouse Capital. The firm said that this new money takes the amount raised this year past $300 million — i.e. its latest two deals contributed at least $85 million more to its kitty — but that’s all the firm is disclosing.

It is being more forthcoming on its business numbers, though. It said it has served more than 10 million unique users, who have completed more than 200 million paid rides on the service. It began in tier-one cities, but has since expanded to cover 21 cities in China, which includes Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. Referencing a report from iResearch, Mobike claimed it has nearly six million weekly users, which is four times more than its nearest rival.

Beyond just getting in on the latest trend in China, Temasek’s investment is also a boon for Mobike’s international expansion plans. The company earmarked Singapore for its first move outside of China, and Temasek is as good as it gets for investor contacts.

“In 2017, we will continue to invest in enhancing our technology, increasing our production capacity, recruiting top talent to our team, and in promoting Mobike’s innovative model internationally,” Mobike co-founder and CEO Davis Wang said in a statement.

In a sign of the industry’s eagerness to expand, Ofo, a Mobike rival backed by ride-sharing giant Didi, expanded to Singapore today, according to a Straits Times report. oBike, another bike-sharing startup, is already present in the city-state, so there’s plenty of competition brewing.