[INTERVIEW] S. Korean mobility solution company targets historical city as gateway to Viet Nam

By Park Sae-jin Posted : March 27, 2024, 18:27 Updated : March 27, 2024, 18:27
Courtesy of Gbike
[Courtesy of Gbike]

SEOUL, March 27 (AJU PRESS) -- Gbike, a South Korean mobility solution company, is set to expand its eco-friendly electric scooter and electric bicycle-sharing services into Viet Nam's historical city of Hue. With operations already in Los Angeles and Thailand, Gbike aims to introduce its services to Hue City, which boasts a rich cultural heritage.

Personal mobility services, including electric scooter and bicycle-sharing services, became extremely popular in South Korea during the last five years. One of the most iconic services is "Ttareungi" operated by Seoul City. People of all ages use personal mobility services to travel short distances instead of using other transports such as buses and taxis to avoid traffic congestion.

"We are the biggest micro mobility-sharing service in Asia," Gbike CEO Yoon Jong-soo told Aju Press on Tuesday. Yoon stressed that Gbike is not a simple bike-sharing service operator, but a company that is pursuing the vision of becoming a total personal mobility service provider.

"Our motto is 'Personal Mobility Service for Both Grandfathers and Granddaughters,' signifying our commitment to providing accessible services for everyone," said Yoon. "To integrate our services into local communities, we must develop services tailored to all ages including seniors and teenagers, irrespective of gender."

Operating costs pose a significant challenge for bicycle-sharing service providers, with Gbike spending approximately 100 million won ($74,415) monthly on fuel for bicycle retrieval trucks. To address this, Gbike introduced the "Battery Swapping Station" (BSS) system, allowing customers to exchange used batteries for fully charged ones, reducing operational expenses. When customers change batteries at BSS after use, they will be offered benefits such as discount coupons.
Gbike CEO Yoon Jong-soo Courtesy of Gbike
Gbike CEO Yoon Jong-soo [Courtesy of Gbike]

Moreover, Gbike aims to become a leading green transportation service provider, primarily focusing on business-to-government (B2G) contracts. In Hue City, the company partnered with the Hue Monuments Conservation Center (HMCC) to deploy electric bicycles, aligning with Viet Nam's transition to green energy.

Hue City, renowned for its historical significance, attracts millions of domestic and international tourists annually. Gbike chose Hue as its entry point into the Vietnamese market due to favorable negotiations with the local government and the country's shift towards green energy.

"We believe Hue City offers an ideal environment for our expansion, with its rich cultural heritage and progressive mindset towards sustainability," said Yoon. Gbike's electric bicycles are awaiting approval from the Vietnamese customs service, with plans to offer competitive pricing plans tailored to local preferences.

"Our goal is to provide affordable alternatives to traditional motorbikes, particularly targeting university students and young professionals," explained Yoon. One of the company's billing plans for Hue's customers include an electric bicycle rental service that would offer lower rates than owning and managing a combustion engine motorbike. "For example, it costs about $2,000 for a university student to purchase a secondhand motorbike in good condition but it will cost less than 30 percent if he or she buys our electric bicycle or scooter and subscribes to our battery plan," Yoon said.

"Viet Nam's vibrant youth population and their enthusiasm for innovation make it an attractive market for us," Yoon said, revealing ambitious plans for Viet Nam. Gbike aims to leverage its experience and expertise in micro-mobility solutions to contribute to the country's sustainable development goals.

"We hope to try new services in Viet Nam because the main consumer group is very young, in their 20s and 30s, and they do not hesitate to try new things. I think Viet Nam and its people are wonderful." The Gbike CEO said.
기사 이미지 확대 보기