Hellobike CFO: Reshaping the future of urban transportation in China

Hellobike CFO, Fischer (Xiaodong) Chen on July 10 gave a keynote speech at the RISE conference in Hong Kong, Asia’s largest annual tech conference, where he shared his insights on the two-wheeler industry in China and how Hellobike has succeeded in a crowded market.

“Our proven understanding of China’s huge market potential for two-wheelers is the key to Hellobike’s success so far,” Chen said in his speech titled: “Reshaping the Future of Urban Transportation”. 

Hellobike, China’s two-wheeler industry leader, has evolved from a bike-sharing service into a comprehensive transportation platform. The 2.5-year-old company has 230 million registered users and provides more than 20 million daily trips. Users have reportedly taken 12 billion rides on the company’s two-wheelers. Hellobike is currently the largest bike-sharing network in China despite being founded after several of its rivals.

Two-wheeled vehicles provide essential travel solutions for many Chinese people. Every day, riders take over one billion commutes on bikes or e-bikes. While 30% of these rides are on bikes, a whopping 70% are on e-bikes. The huge market potential is driving the industry’s players to create the best services in order to attract more users. Hellobike is focusing on reducing costs through innovation rather than subsidizing riders as many of its competitors do.

Chen also said that efficiency is the key to the company’s smart operations. With the help of the Hellobike Intelligent System, which dispatches bikes and rebalances their distribution within cities, the two-wheeler use rate has drastically increased. In some cities, a single bike can be used as many as 18 times a day. The Intelligent System can predict user behavior using big data and specially-designed algorithms, even sending notifications to riders when it senses abnormal user behaviors. Most importantly, Hellobike’s maintenance team can quickly balance bike distributions to make two-wheelers easily accessible to riders.

The demand for e-bikes is much greater than that for bikes due to the needs of large populations living in lower-tier markets and delivery service workers who depend on the technology. Due to the new national standards for e-bike batteries, all industry players will revamp their battery inventories. In June, Hellobike, Ant Financial, and CATL formed an e-bike battery change network and made e-bike battery use safer, more accessible, and more sustainable. The new partnership is working with e-bike manufacturers to standardize batteries across different models, thus making battery sharing easier in the long term

As a latecomer to the two-wheeler scene, Hellobike learned many lessons from its peers. Disorganized parking is a problem in many urban areas and is a headache for policy makers and city planners. To solve this issue, Hellobike has pioneered Bluetooth Beacon technology to restrict parking in designated areas.

Hellobike is also working to ensure that it achieves sustainable profitability. The company prices its products based on its own operating costs rather than its competitors’ prices. Hellobike’s innovations are already helping it reduce costs and improve efficiency. For instance, its scanning tool checks 29 items on each bike at night and diagnoses problems, and the 99% successful unlock-and-ride rate ensures a good rider experience.

Focusing on two-wheeled travel means serving a market where riders take billions of trips per day. Hellobike envisions a smarter, greener, more affordable and efficient commute. Investors are showing strong interest in this growing company, and Hellobike has received funding from known investors including GGV, Ant Financial, Primavera Capital, Joy Capital, Fosun Group, WM Motor, Chengwei Capital, among others.

(Top photo from RISE)

Fang Yuan

Fang Yuan is our columnist. She used to live in New York and is originally from Shanghai. She is a Certified Passive House Consultant and works on sustainable building consulting. She believes that technology helps people and the environment if it is being used mindfully.

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