Alibaba raises up Hellobike to “right the wrong” and rival with Didi (internal memo enclosed)

China’s smaller bike-sharing competitor to Ofo and Mobike — Hellobike — has turned two. It’s now Hello Chuxing.

By

Alibaba raises up Hellobike to “right the wrong” and rival with Didi (internal memo enclosed)

Alibaba-backed bike-sharing company Hellobike (哈罗) today announced the upgrade of its brand to Hello Chuxing (哈啰出行) in a move to extend its tentacles from bike-sharing pure play to more transportation services including e-scooter, bus, and potentially ride-sharing.

In a company-wide memo (in Chinese) sent out by its CEO Yang Lei, obtained by our parent company 36Kr and translated by KrASIA as below, Yang wrote that going forward with the name change, Hello Chuxing will step into general transportation’, expanding into other verticals fall under the transportation sector.

This could be a way Alibaba, the avid backer behind Hello Chuxing, is prepping the young company in becoming a Didi Chuxing challenger. Didi itself is the result of a merger between Didi Dache (backed by Tencent) and Kuaidi Dache (backed by Alibaba), which Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma and CEO Daniel Zhang referred to as an example of a misstep for Alibaba, according to Meituan CEO Wang Xing (link in Chinese) — one that they said “won’t ever happen again”.

It might also be the best time for Hello Chuxing to garner any market share in the ride-hailing industry that Didi had lost due to negative publicity after it was linked to two rape-and-murders in three months. We had earlier published Didi CEO Cheng Wei’s memo to all employees here.

The bike-sharing industry in China is a pie mainly shared by three companies — Hello Chuxing, Ofo, and Mobike, the former two backed by Alibaba and its affiliate Ant Financial, while the last is currently owned by Meituan with backing from Tencent. Ofo has also received capital from Didi Chuxing. According to Zeng Ming, the Chief Strategy Officer at Alibaba, Hellobike has overtaken Mobike and Ofo in terms of daily bookings; this reason alone makes the sky blue-coloured bike-sharing brand a lot more attractive to Alibaba than its yellow cousin Ofo.

This is not the first case Alibaba set up a roadblock for a competitor in an industry it deems important but lost control over a top player. Case in point. Meituan-Dianping versus Ele.me.

Tencent-backed Meituan is gearing up for its HK public float, which is set to happen on this Thursday to raise up to US$4 billion. In the meantime, Alibaba, together with its long-term ally SoftBank, created a new entity by merging Ele.me and Koubei and pledged $3 billion in funding with more to come, posing a material threat to Meituan in food delivery sector and raised concerns over the viability of Meituan’s business model amongst Hong Kong investors.

Once the backer behind Meituan, Alibaba and the world’s largest on-demand services startup grew apart and quickly turned to nurture Ele.me as a rival. Just like how it might raise up Hello Chuxing today to become another formidable competitor for Didi Chuxing. Both Meituan and Didi are now considered to side with Tencent.

The following is a full company-wide memo:

新出行,新征程,新使命

New travel, new journey, new mission.

各位哈罗人:

Dear all Helloren (employees)

时间很快,今天是哈罗两岁的日子。

Time flies, we’re celebrating HelloBike’s second year anniversary today.

回想起当初我们几个创始人因为共同的梦想走到一起,到今天已经聚集了3000多名兄弟姐妹们一起奋斗,真的不可思议!两年的时间,经历过太多艰难的选择,因为信念我们没有放弃,我们从共享单车的后来者,从激烈的市场竞争中,从不断的质疑声中,幸运的活下来,哈罗单车也成为了众多市民最喜欢的出行工具之一。

It is incredible to believe that this company started off as a dream of a few of us co-founders and that today, there are more than 3,000 brothers and sisters gathered here to work hard together. In the last two years, we have had to make many challenging decisions, but due to our belief, we did not give up. From being one of the latecomers in the bike-sharing scene, fighting in a competitive market with never-ending voices of doubt, we’ve survived and become one of the transport services that many people enjoy.

我们很清楚,我们还很年轻,能有今天小小的成就,不是我们的战略多么正确、团队多么强大、执行多么完美,是我们比对手更努力、更脚踏实地,是我们坚持“科技推动出行进化”的使命、坚持“心有用户”的价值观,坚信数据和新技术的力量,坚持相信我们在一起就一定能创造未来。业绩只是一个数字,用户的认可、社会的价值,才是对每一位哈罗人无数个日日夜夜奋斗最好的回报。

We are aware that we’re still young, and that today’s small achievements is not due to how accurate our business strategy is, how strong and big the team is, or how perfect execution was, but because we work harder than our competitors and are more down-to-earth. We are insistent on our mission of “technology driving the development of transportation” and our value system of keeping the customer in our hearts, maintaining confidence in data and new technologies, continuing to believe that if we’re together, we can create the future. Business performance is just a number; it is the approval of the customer and the value that society places on us that are the best rewards for every Helloren working day and night.

两年的时间,很多当初青涩内秀的小兄弟们,在单车一线运维的艰苦实战中,快速成长为独挡一面的省区和大区战将,成为共享单车行业不可或缺的特殊人才;也有很多优秀的、具有国际化背景的人才加入哈罗,和我们一起奔向未来。

Over a time span of two years, lots of our fresh hires, after going through the hardship in the bike sharing sector, have grown to be able to hold their own at work and become valuable assets in the industry. There have also been many outstanding talent with international backgrounds joining Hellobike’s journey in going towards the future.

此时此刻,我特别想和每一位哈罗人以及哈罗的家人、朋友、合作伙伴,说声:谢谢!谢谢你们陪伴了哈罗最宝贵的两年,谢谢你们的包容和信任,我们才有了两年间许许多多值得终生回味的瞬间;谢谢你们的不离不弃,我们今天才能够仰望星空、把出行梦想变成现实又延伸至更远的未来!

At this point, I want to specially say a word of thanks to every Helloren and the family, friends and partners of Hellobike. Thank you for accompanying Hellobike in the company’s most precious two years. Thank you for your tolerance and trust, which gave us two years of memories that we will cherish for a lifetime. Thank you for your continued commitment in not giving up and abandoning us, which has given us the ability to look at the stars in the sky, to actualise our dream of building on-demand transport services, and to extend our vision to a further future.

今天开始,哈罗就要升级变身成哈啰了,从单车到大出行,而我们也将迎来更艰巨的任务、更宏大的使命和更高难度的挑战,可能我们自己都没有完全准备好,虽然过去我们在共享单车行业已是NO.1,但商业社会的进化永不停息,更好的商业模式、更优秀的创业者、更意想不到的变化一定会层出不穷……但我相信,经历了创业第一阶段的战火洗礼,我们的意志已无比坚定,内心无比强大,乐于拥抱变化,敢于横越未知。我们欢迎竞争,有更多优秀的行业伙伴,才是真正帮助我们成长蜕变的关键,我们坚持永远努力承担更多的社会责任,永远努力更坚持“心有用户”,我们坚持每一位加入哈啰的兄弟都必须具有强烈的社会责任感,我们坚持做自己,这是我们存在的价值和意义。

From today on, Hellobike will upgrade its brand (from Hellobike to Hello Chuxing). Going forward, from bike-sharing to general transportation, we will welcome harder tasks, more ambitious missions, and challenges with a higher level of difficulty. Perhaps we are not even fully prepared for this, although in the past we were No. 1 in the bike-sharing industry, but the business world will never stop developing. There will always be better business models, more outstanding entrepreneurs, and changes that we won’t be able to predict. But I believe that having been baptised by the fire of the entrepreneurial process, our will is never stronger, our hearts never bigger to embrace change, ever courageous to cross the unknown. We welcome competition and that having more outstanding industry partners will be the key to truly helping us grow and change. We insist on always working hard in shouldering more social responsibilities, and strive to adhere to our belief in keeping the user in our hearts. We insist on every Helloren joining us must have a strong sense of social responsibility. We insist on being ourselves — that is the value and meaning of our existence.

未来的路还很长,过去的两年很艰难,今后也许会更加艰难,出行作为人类社会的核心场景,还有非常多的痛点没有解决,这也是哈啰的责任和机会。未来10年、20年、30年,随着自动驾驶等新技术的兴起和普及,出行行业正在迎来历史性的变革,也正在被重新定义,让我们一起坚守使命、愿景、价值观,坚持做正确的事,服务于社会和用户,不断做出创新性的服务和产品,见证出行行业的不断进化。

The road ahead is still long, the last two years were challenging, and perhaps there will be even more challenges ahead of us in the future, with transportation serving as a core element in society. Additionally, there will be plenty of pain points that have not been resolved, which are opportunities and responsibilities for Hello Chuxing. In the next 10, 20, and 30 years, following the rise and proliferation of self-driving cars, the transport business will see historic changes, and will be redefined. Let us stick to our mission, vision, and values in doing the correct thing, serving society and users, continuously creating new services and products, witnessing continuous evolution of the transport industry.

最后,感谢你们,感谢一路相伴的朋友们,在追梦的路上,我们一起同行,未来的每一天,注定不会平凡。

Lastly, thank you everyone — friends who have accompanied us on this path. As we chase our dreams, let us do this together. Every single day in the future will definitely not be ordinary.

哈啰出行CEO杨磊

Hello Chuxing CEO Yang Lei

2018.09.17

September 17, 2018.

Editor: Ben Jiang