Caixin
Apr 08, 2021 03:44 AM
BUSINESS & TECH

Chinese Bike-Sharing Startup Hello Launches Smart Electric Bicycles

Hello’s electric bikes in Xiangyang, Hubei province.
Hello’s electric bikes in Xiangyang, Hubei province.

Chinese bike-sharing startup Hello Inc. launched three smart electric bikes, joining the world’s largest market for two-wheeled electric vehicles.

“While providing bike-sharing service, we found two-wheeled electric vehicles are the most popular means of transportation for Chinese people,” Li Kaizhu, co-founder of Hello, said Wednesday at the launch of the new product.

China now has about 300 million two-wheeled electric vehicles, nearly 200 million of which will need to be replaced by 2024 to meet the requirements in a new technical safety standard for electric bikes implemented in 2019, Dongwu Securities Co. estimated. The new standard will shorten the life cycle of two-wheeled electric vehicles.

Demand from China’s food and package delivery industry will call for 4.8 million new two-wheeled electric vehicles each year by 2025, Dongwu Securities estimated.

Hello’s smart electric bikes use a built-in operating system, VVSmart. Users can activate the VVSmart operating system in the Hello app after connecting their mobile phones to the bikes by inserting the phone into a slot on the handle of the bike. After being connected, the mobile phone can act as a dashboard, displaying data such as vehicle speed, battery charge and mileage.

The VVSmart operating system will also be available to other electric vehicle brands in the future, Hello said.

With a low technology threshold, China’s two-wheeled electric vehicle market has numerous competitors offering similar products. Industry giants such as Yadea Technology Group Co. Ltd., Aima Technology Group Co. Ltd. and Jiangsu Xinri E-Vehicle Co. Ltd. (603787.SH) mostly focus on hardware fields, such as batteries and bike frames.

Currently fewer than 5% of the two-wheeled electric vehicles sold in China are smart vehicles, according to Hello.

Hello, backed by Ant Group Co., confidentially filed for a U.S. initial public offering, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The company has yet to decide the size and valuation of the share sale, though International Financing Review reported it was examining plans to raise as much as $1 billion.

The Shanghai-based startup ― previously known as Hellobike ― is one of the few companies to survive China’s bike-sharing bubble.

The startup has more than 400 million registered users, and its bikes could be found in more than 400 cities across China as of October, according to its website.

Contact reporter Denise Jia (huijuanjia@caixin.com) and editor Bob Simison (bobsimison@caixin.com)

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