Singapore-based oBike, a station-less smart bike-sharing company, has entered into a partnership with transport network connector and payments provider Grab, according to a press release from oBike.
The partnership will see oBike integrate GrabPay – Grab’s mobile wallet – into its mobile app, offering bike-riders an additional secure cashless payment option via the GrabPay wallet. This will further build out GrabPay and may drive its expansion beyond Southeast Asia, given the international reach of oBike.
In a statement, Grab commented: “We are extending the use of GrabPay beyond transport and now have over 1,000 merchants in Singapore who accept GrabPay for food & beverages and retail. We are open to all partnerships and will continue to expand options where our customers can use GrabPay as a mobile wallet.”
“In addition, we are always exploring new mobility options that cater to consumers with different travelling preferences and price points. Bicycle sharing complements Grab’s current transport service offerings as a viable first and last mile option for commuters. We look forward to exploring collaborations with all transport providers in the industry.”
oBike claims to be Southeast Asia’s largest bike-sharing company and facilitates one-way first and last-mile commuting via its bicycle fleet. Currently, it maintains business operations in more than 70 cities across 20 countries. oBike competes with rival bike-sharing service Ofo, which is backed by Didi Chuxing, a long-term investor in Grab.
This joint initiative will see both firms collaborate with more joint initiatives in the pipeline to improve the on-demand transport infrastructure in the Southeast Asian city-state. The move also comes at a time when Grab is making an ecosystem play.
In a media release, Tim Phang, General Manager, oBike Singapore, said, “This partnership, between two market leaders, is a natural extension of our goal to enhance the bike-sharing experience for commuters and strengthen our position as Singapore’s first bike-sharing operator.”
Grab is already an investor in oBike, having invested in the bike-sharing service as part of a $45 million Series B round it announced in August 2017.
oBike states that Grab and the company have planned various co-branded initiatives one of which includes Grab’s branding on oBike bicycles, with the two firms aiming to promote bike-riding as an alternative first- and last- mile commute across the city-state.
Grab is adding bike-sharing to its transport network connection services via a joint service with oBike and is likely to roll out the integration in Singapore first, before extending the scheme to other cities in Southeast Asia.
This partnership aims to make urban cycling more convenient and accessible for commuters and deepen oBike’s footprint in Singapore. Its users will be able to earn GrabReward points when they pay for their bike rides using GrabPay in the coming months.
This business alliance comes at Uber Technologies prepares to take a new approach to Asia and Indonesia’s Go-Jek plans to expand to more markets across the region. However, SoftBank’s investment in Uber – it has acquired stakes in Grab, China’s Didi Chuxing and India’s Ola – has also raised questions of possible consolidation and the exit of Uber from the Southeast Asian market.
Originally published on Deal Street Asia