When Chinese bike-sharing company Mobike first formed, investors and suppliers were skeptical. The idea of a bike share program without storage docks had been tried before in China. But when Mobike launched with a few bikes last April, the service exploded, especially on social media.
“It became more of a lifestyle in the city, rather than just a boring bike-sharing service,” cofounder and CTO Joe Xia said on stage this week at the Web Summit conference in Lisbon. The company had initially aimed for a million trips by the end of 2016. It ended doing three to four times that, he said.
In just two years, investors have poured an astonishing $928 million into the company. That cash has propelled Mobike to a leading position in a fast-expanding category. It now operates in more than 180 cities, with 8 million bikes and more than 200 million registered users.
But investors weren’t the only ones to notice the company’s runaway success. More than…
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