Alipay, the online and mobile payment platform operated by Ant Financial, has teamed up with six bike-rental apps to allow users to rent 6 million bikes in 50 cities across China directly through the app’s new “scan and ride” function.
Users can unlock any ofo, YouonBike, Bluebike, hellobike, Ubike or funbike vehicle simply by scanning its QR code through the Alipay app starting from today, the company announced.
Bike-rental has exploded in China over the past year, with tens of millions of users taking millions of rides every day across the country. However, users are facing with an increasingly bothering problem of choosing between a “rainbow” of different bike rental services. For users, new service eliminates the need to download individual apps for each service. For the companies on the other hand, the partnership helps both parties to drive more traffic.
Bike-rental apps are no longer the only place where urban commuters can borrow a bicycle. Behind the heating competition, there’s an increasing presence of internet giants, who are entering the battle field through capital injection or product line-up, or both.
Although Alipay’s cooperation comes a bit late, it has certain advantages. The sheer number of partners, which indicates more bikes, is a plus in a market where bike availability is the top priority for users. When Alipay users scan the QR code, no user registration for separate bike-rental apps is needed for renting the bike. In addition, any user that rents a bike through Alipay automatically receives comprehensive accident insurance.
“Bike-sharing is transforming lifestyles across China, providing a healthy, convenient and affordable way to get across town. Integrating Alipay with these apps will make life even easier for users and help the industry continue its tremendous growth.”
~ Chen Long, Chief Strategy Officer of Ant Financial
Before this product tie-up, Alibaba has already tapped the market through its credit rating system Sesame Credit. Ofo and YouonBike allow users with qualifying scores on Sesame Credit to rent bikes without a deposit.