Chinese bike-rental company Mobike has responded to reports of exaggerated user numbers. A Bloomberg article headlined “Meituan IPO fact-checks Mobike’s fanciful numbers” found that the operation details of Mobike in Meituan Dianping’s public filings were significantly more toned down than the flamboyant numbers that the company had previously released. Mobike was acquired by the recently IPO’d Chinese food delivery platform Meituan Dianping in April.
The prospectus shows that in the four months ended April 30, 2018, Mobike had 48.1 million active bike users and 7.1 million active bikes. However, the company’s press release in December claimed that it had amassed over 200 million users globally and earlier this year the company also touted to have deployed 9 million bikes worldwide.
The public filing also shows that over 1 billion rides were completed during the four-month period, averaging 8.4 million rides per day—which is also significantly lower than the 30 million rides that the company claimed back in October.
In response (in Chinese) to the concern over the discrepancy in the numbers, the company said globally it has 232 million “registered users” and is registering up to 30 million rides per day. The company told TechNode in a separate response that the numbers in Meituan’s prospectus describe “active users” rather than “registered users”, which might have caused the confusion in the first place. The company also stressed that the number of bike rides varies significantly with seasons, weather and other factors.
The company representative said after Mobike dropped its deposit fee policy in July, it saw “a big surge” in usage. However, the spokesperson claimed that even though the overall bike deployment has been scaled down, the company is still seeing a steady increase in revenue.
The representative confirmed to TechNode that the number of active bikes has dropped from 9 million to 7.1 million largely due to the sustainability initiative Mobike launched in July, in which it pledged not to add any new bikes to their fleet in cities that have already reached capacities. The company also recently began recycling batches of older bikes that are in poor conditions. Recent government regulations also aim to curb the number shared-bikes.