HelloBike (哈啰出行) recently reached a strategic partnership with Ant Financial (蚂蚁金服) and CATL (宁德时代) for the purpose of expansion into a two-wheeled electric mobility arena.
HelloBike is a Chinese leading mobile service provider, developing and providing a bike sharing mobile application. Its application promotes the development of the shared bicycle segment market through the cooperation with the traditional car rental business and scenic spot supervision agencies of the tourist attractions. CATL is a famous battery manufacturer in China and has a strong R&D capability of traction and energy storage batteries. Main clients are new energy vehicle enterprises. Ant Financial is an online payment service provider founded by Alibaba group. Its platform, Alipay, is the world's largest mobile and online payment platform with a registered user base of over 1 billion as of January 2019.
The three companies jointly announced a tie-up on June 12 that would establish a new company raising USD 145.5 million (CNY 1 billion) to provide battery charging service for electric bikes. The new company was named as Ningdezhixiang Technology Co. Ltd (宁德智享科技公司) where HelloBike holds 38% shares of it whereas CATL and Ant Financial take 33.5% and 28.5% shares respectively. Yang Lei (杨磊), founder and CEO of HelloBike, serves as the CEO of the company.
The significant tie-up of three giants in their own industries indicates their ambitions towards two-wheeled electric mobility options. Three companies have clear responsibility boundary within the joint venture. CATL takes charge of providing battery solutions for electric bikes. With 1 billion users in hand, Ant Financial is responsible for dealing with an online traffic issue, financial and technical services, and even grasping resources from the Alibaba ecosystem. HelloBike is directly in charge of the most important part that is offline distribution and operation.
When it comes to the reason for entering the electric bike arena, Yang Lei replied, "China is a big market for two-wheeled mobility. More than 200 million bike rides are demanded per day but around 700 million daily electric bike rides are needed, almost 2.5 times larger."
However, pushing out charging service is not the termination for HelloBike. By walking out this step, HelloBike comes closer to building a big electric bike network, an insider said.