China’s Mobike to launch bike-sharing service in Sapporo

China’s Mobike will start a bicycle-sharing service in Sapporo in late August, becoming the first major player in the rapidly expanding Chinese industry to set foot in Japan.

Mobike has quickly expanded since it started in Shanghai in 2016. Customers can find bicycles nearby, unlock them and pay by smartphone.

In Sapporo, parking spots for Mobike bicycles will be provided by the Seicomart convenience store chain run by Secoma Co. and by Sapporo Drug Store Co. Both companies are based in the city. Mobike also plans to take its service to Fukuoka.

Illegally parked or abandoned bicycles remain a problem in urban areas. If bicycle-sharing services become popular, it will help solve the problem, Mobike said.

Mobike’s main rival, ofo Inc., plans to start bicycle-sharing services in Tokyo and Osaka next month in a tie-up with a company in the SoftBank group.

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