Mobike gets backing from Foxconn as it ramps up expansion plans for 2017


BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s Mobike said it has joined hands with Foxconn to double the number of bikes it plans to make this year to 10 million, adding that the Taiwanese manufacturing giant had also taken a stake in the bike-sharing start-up.

Mobike, which is backed by Tencent and Warburg Pincus, said that this year it will manufacture 5.6 million with Foxconn and the rest at its own plants with unspecified partners – a huge jump over 2016 when it made more than 400,000.

Terms of the deal with Foxconn, known formally as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co, were not disclosed.

Mobike, seen as one of most aggressive Chinese firms that allows users to find and rent bicycles through a smartphone app, said it is hoping the move will help it expand faster by lowering the unit cost of each bicycle.

The start-up raised at least $315 million in two funding rounds since October and says it is open to further investment. It has not disclosed valuations.

Founded in 2015, Mobike currently operates in 13 cities across China and has forged investor relationships with Huazhou Hotels Group and Chinese online travel site International in a bid to reach travellers.

It also has international ambitions and has opened an office in Singapore.

The deal with Foxconn will see Mobike bicycles made in both new and existing Foxconn plants. Manufacturing bikes in the United States and Europe was also possible, Chief Executive Davis Wang told Reuters.

“Right now we are working with Foxconn to evaluate the possibilities,” he said, adding that the company plans to meet demand in different markets with local manufacturing.

Foxconn, which is one of China’s biggest employers and makes Apple’s iPhones among other products, said on Sunday that it may set up a display-making plant in the United States in an investment that would exceed $7 billion – a plan that comes as new President Donald Trump prioritises U.S. jobs.

(Reporting by Cate Cadell; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

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