Mobike tries to catch up with China arch-rival ofo by announcing it will launch in Australia in January 2018. The company will put around 2,000 bikes onto the streets around Gold Coast, Queensland, but the bikes will have to be left in designated areas.

The bikes have been designed for Australia with gears, a larger frame and larger wheels, according to a release from Mobike. The internal three-speed gears and 26-inch wheels will no doubt be more useful in the less urban landscapes of the Gold Coast region. Taking the adaptation to a whole other level, some of the bikes have racks that allow a surfboard to slotted alongside the bike.

Mobike Australia helmet
The new Mobike model for Australia, helmets in every picture (Image credit: Mobike)

To end a journey, the rider will have to cycle to a designating parking area (no details of number, location or capacity) before closing the locks.

Gold Coast, with a population of over 600,000, is Australia’s sixth largest city. 2,000 bikes may not make a huge impact, but as temperatures will be pushing 40ºC when the launch begins, the supply might meet the demand of local early adopters.

The city sees the arrival of Mobike as part of its sustainable development, especially as it will be hosting the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Gold Coast Mayor, Tom Tate, said, “The bikes will be rolled out strategically and increase availability to meet demand, and we are delighted they will be on the streets in time for Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.”

Mobike Australia Gold Coast launch
Australia Mobike users also don’t look where they’re going (Image credit: Mobike)

 The launch is in collaboration with Transit Australia Group, one of the country’s largest mass transit companies, and Good Cycles, a local social enterprise. Transit Australia Group CEO, Michael McGee, said:

“While bike sharing is in its infancy in Australia, we are excited to showcase how the Gold Coast’s unique approach can enhance mobility with digital disruption while supporting positive social outcomes for the community through a social enterprise model. This is a true collaboration between Council and industry that offers a forward-thinking yet methodical approach to introducing bike-share to a major city.”

Frank Hersey is a Beijing-based tech reporter who's been coming to China since 2001. He tries to go beyond the headlines to explain the context and impact of developments in China's tech sector. Get in...

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