Daily DripFuture

A Challenger Appears: Canada Welcomes Chinese Shared Bike Company, and it’s Not OFO or Mobike


The war for shared bike supremacy rages on between Ofo and Mobike, the two major remaining players in the industry.

The explosion of shared bike companies in China has basically pittered to a stop, after smaller brands were unable to compete with the crushing might of the two heavyweights. Ofo and Mobike have both already set their sights on worldwide expansion, with Ofo seizing Seattle in the US, and Mobike claiming the capital of Washington DC. But in an unexpected turn of events, Canada has given the green light to a smaller player – U-bike.

U-bike (优拜单车) apparently received funding from the family foundation of Canadian business magnate Sir Terry Matthews. Why they chose to opt for a relative dwarf in the industry is kind of unclear (especially since the app currently holds a meek 1.5 star rating on China’s app store). Even Ofo and Mobike are going to have to strategize heavily in order to adapt to the high start up costs and local regulations that come with overseas expansion, so it remains to be seen if the new kid on the block will see success in Canada.

Yi Yu, U-bike’s founder, has suggested that Chinese communities in Canada might be the target zones of their initial expansion, and there’s speculation that Vancouver and Victoria in British Columbia could be high up on the list. He’s also stated in earlier interviews that just because when you’re out in the city you see only these two brands, doesn’t mean there’s no room for anyone else. There’s no such thing as a full monopoly. If you can find your niche, and capitalize on your competitive advantage, you will be successful.

We’ll see how it goes, but everybody loves an underdog.

Adan Kohnhorst
Adan Kohnhorst is a US-based writer, producer, multimedia artist, and former associate editor at RADII. His work has been featured in publications such as Maxim and the Chinese-language StreetVoice, and he’s an active member of the hip hop and DIY music scenes in Shanghai, NYC, and Dallas. He learned Mandarin in high school to train at the Shaolin Temple but now uses it to interview rappers. He blogs about China and Asia on Instagram: @this.is.adan

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