A lesser-known China’s bike company Youon is reportedly expanding to Europe as its rival Ofo has applied the brakes to its global expansion strategy in recent months.
The company has formed a joint venture with UK-based bike-sharing startup Cycle.land which will enable Youon to sit back in its headquarters in eastern China while its British partner deploys its bikes and takes care of on-the-ground operation.
The fleet of the company’s 1,000 public bikes will start appearing in London next March. This move will make the UK the fourth country in its international expansion after Russia, India, and Malaysia.
“User behavior in Europe and North America is very different and it will be reckless for a [Chinese] firm to abruptly set up its own operations overseas,” Sun Naiyue, an analyst at Analysys stated.
Away from home, Youon’s partnership approach is also noticeably different from that of Mobike and Ofo, which have chosen to run their own overseas operation. The move of partnering with local players gives Youon insight into customers abroad, suggests market research firm Analysys.