Mobike removed from WeChat Pay, increasing barriers for users

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Super messaging app WeChat has removed bike-rental firm Mobike from its in-app wallet feature, a significant source of users for the mobility firm, reports Chinese media.

“Riders can still access to Mobike’s services using WeChat’s QR code scanning function or by searching for the mini-program within the messaging platform,” a Mobike spokesperson told TechNode. The company said the removal is due to the expiry of a partnership between the two firms. The move increases barriers for WeChat users who want to access the mobility platform’s services.

The Chinese bike-rental startup signed a partnership with Tencent in March 2017, allowing riders to access its platform in WeChat’s wallet feature, known as WeChat Pay, our sister site TechNode Chinese reported at the time. Mobike was added to WeChat Pay’s interface as a third-party service. Still included are e-commerce giant JD’s marketplace and Didi’s ride-hailing platform, among others.

At the time, WeChat’s 900 million-strong monthly active users (MAUs) were a boon for the bike-rental company. With the massive volume of traffic coming from WeChat, Mobike said it saw a quarter-on-quarter MAU increase of over 200% in May 2017.

In the same month, the company’s executives also claimed that 50% of newly-registered users originated from WeChat.

Mobike was one of the first companies to adopt mini-programs, which allow users to access services from different companies on WeChat without having to download a separate application. According to data service provider QuestMobile, in September 2018, Mobike had more than 55 million MAUs on its mini-program, double that of its own app.

Tencent used to be one of Mobike’s principal shareholders until April 2018, when the bike-rental firm was fully acquired by Meituan-Dianping, the company behind the mega lifestyle app of the same name, according to Chinese media reports. Mobike co-founder and former CEO Hu Weiwei announced her departure from the company for “personal reasons” last month.