Mobike calls it quits, seeks LTA approval to surrender licence


SINGAPORE: Mobike made an application on Monday (Mar 11) to seek consent to surrender its bicycle-sharing licence in Singapore, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) has confirmed.

In an emailed response to queries from Channel NewsAsia, LTA said on Tuesday it is assessing Mobike’s request, and will work with the company to ensure that it has fully explored all options, including its proposal to transfer existing assets or operations to existing licensees, to minimise impact to consumers.
 
LTA added that it has emphasised to Mobike that if its application to surrender its licence is granted, it must conduct a proper exit by removing all bicycles from public places. The company must also provide refunds for user deposits and pre-paid credits in accordance with the company’s terms and conditions.
 
Mobike has also withdrawn its applications for a PMD-sharing licence and to increase its maximum allowable shared bicycle fleet size.

Mobike had said on Monday that it would pull out of some Asian countries and re-evaluate its units in other overseas markets amid a wide-scale contraction in the market and the bankruptcy of top competitor Ofo.

Ofo’s operating licence in Singapore was suspended last month after it failed to comply with LTA requirements, including proper implementation of the QR code system. 

Mobike is the third Chinese bike-sharing company to face problems in the Singapore market, after Ofo’s suspension in February 2019 and oBike’s exit in 2018

Ofo, Mobike and local start-up SG Bike are the three companies left with a full operating licence. Meanwhile, Anywheel and Qiqi Zhixiang hold sandbox licences. 

When Channel NewsAsia visited Mobike’s Singapore office at UIC Building along Shenton Way on Tuesday, four employees were present. 

One of them, an intern, told Channel NewsAsia that he was not informed of the decision from Mobike’s headquarters in China.

Mobike office Singapore

Mobike’s Singapore office at UIC Building. (Photo: Amir Yusof) 

“I only found out after coming into work today and reading from the news this morning. I don’t know what will happen next … and how this announcement will affect us. We will probably know more by the end of this week,” he added. 

Later on Tuesday afternoon, Mobike confirmed that it had submitted a proposal to LTA for a “managed and orderly” withdrawal from the Singapore market. 

“The decision is part of a plan to rationalise Mobike’s operations in Southeast Asia. We’re tremendously proud of what we achieved in Singapore, and would like to thank everyone who both rode with us, and who worked for us,” the company added. 

Mobike also said that its team will remain in place while it closes its services in Singapore. All user deposit and prepayments “will be refunded in order”, and all contracts and payments will be honored, it added.

Under the Parking Places Act, a bicycle-sharing licence may only be surrendered with the written consent of the LTA.



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