Meet Mobike, a billion-dollar bike-sharing startup from China

Bike-sharing is the year’s hottest tech trend in China. The two biggest startups in the space have pulled in more than $1 billion cumulatively from VCs this year alone, and at valuations that exceed $1 billion — yet their businesses, and the bikes themselves, are not well known in the U.S. and other parts of the world outside of China.

During our recent TechCrunch China event in Shenzhen last month, we took time out to get to know Mobike, one of the leading bike on-demand companies, and sample the bikes it offers.

The company was founded in 2015, and today it claims over 100 million registered users across more than 100 cities, almost all of which are in China.

Mobike charges 1RMB (around $0.15) per 30 minutes. Its bikes are dock-less — meaning they can be dropped off and picked up from anywhere thanks to an embedded GPS chip — and are simply unlocked by scanning a QR code using the mobile app. At peak times, Mobike claims it handles as many as 25 million trips per day on its service.

The company has raised more than $900 million from investors, which include Tencent, Sequoia, Temasek and Warburg Pincus, according to data from Crunchbase. Its most recent round was a $600 million Series E which closed last month. That was a record for a bike-sharing company until its close rival Ofo raised $700 million this month.

Mobike is currently focused on growing its bike ride business, but CTO Joe Xia told us in Shenzhen that its future plans include enabling courier services, e-commerce plays and packaging data for business customers. On top of that, it is also pursuing an aggressive international expansion aimed at taking it to 200 cities across the world before the end of this year.

You’re going to hear a lot more from Mobike (and Ofo) this year and beyond.