Startups Move to Grab Electric Scooter-Sharing Market in Asia

Wall Street Journal writer Jake Maxwell Watts reported last week that, “Dozens of young companies burned through billions of dollars vying to dominate ride-hailing and bike-sharing in Asian megacities from Beijing to Jakarta. The race to transform urban transport is still on and now a fresh pileup looms—over electric scooters.

“The scooter-sharing industry is growing in U.S. cities and other developed markets such as Spain and France. As it moves to the Asia-Pacific region, local startups are moving early to grab market share, setting up a battle with global players like U.S.-based Lime.

Thirteen companies including Lime have applied for licenses to operate commercially in the city-state of Singapore, which they say is both an appealing market and a gateway to Southeast Asia, a region of 600 million people.”

The Journal article indicated that, “Some of the 13 already have begun operating in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Australia. China, which manufactures almost all the world’s electric scooters, has yet to see any significant growth in e-scooter sharing as transport providers there instead focus on the fast-growing markets for shared bicycles, and more recently, electric mopeds.

“Asia’s e-scooter market is nascent: It generates less than $10 million in annual revenues, according to India-based research firm Mobility Foresights, compared with about $315 million in the U.S. and $251 million in Europe.”

Last week’s article added that, “To many in the industry, the battle for dominance is reminiscent of ride-hailing, and some of the new startups are staffed or advised by ride-hailing veterans.

“Uber ultimately conceded defeat in both China and Southeast Asia, taking minority stakes in regional competitors Didi Chuxing and Grab Inc., respectively. The new e-scooter startups hope to emulate Grab’s success by understanding the needs of customers and regulators in a region that is less homogenous than Europe or the U.S.

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