The Chinese bike-renting platform Hellobike (哈罗单车) is planning to launch a taxi service, 36Kr reports.
“Hellocar (哈啰出行)”, the new service will be launched in cooperation with the metro and rapid transit systems in several Tier I cities, the news portal reports.
Further details about the cooperation deal or the date of the launch of the service was not immediately available.
However, the portal reports that the agreement with the public transport system will boost Hellobike’s business in a number of ways. Its bicycles will have increased parking space in major transport hubs and could be unlocked with the electronic cards used on public transport.
The bike renting company has been trying to register a name for its taxi service since April this year.
36Kr quoted a letter sent by Hellobike’s founder, Yang Lei, to some departments. It read: “although we are the number one shared bike company, the evolution of a market society never stops. New and better business models, better entrepreneurs and unthinkable changes will constantly take place.”
Hellobike was founded in 2016 and has over 3,000 employees. In April 2018 it received USD 700 million in funding from Alibaba’s Ant Financial. Users with a Sesame Credit (Alibaba’s internal credit system) of over 650 points do not need to pay the CNY 199 security deposit to use Hellobike’s shared cycles. In May 2018, Hellobike had 7.6 million active users according to the research company Analysys.cn.
In August, Hellobike signed a cooperation agreement with Alibaba-backed food delivery app Ele.me to boost traffic for the two companies. Hellobike cardholders automatically become Ele.me’s premium users.
The launching of a taxi service seems to suggest that Hellobike is not satisfied with generating traffic alone. It wants to create new business opportunities.
In his letter, Yang Lei said: “our achievements do not come from our correct strategy, or the strength of our team, or our excellent execution. They happen when we fight harder than our rivals when we are more realistic. That way we will accomplish our mission of implementing a technological evolution of transportation”.
According to Yang, “the travel industry is going through historic changes which are redefining it”. He is confident that his company can play an important role if they “stick to our mission, vision and values, serve the society and users and constantly make innovative services and products”.