Cambodia is following already established market trends in China, Europe and the USA with the introduction of its first online e-motorbike app entering the market this month.
Singaporean Carl Wong, founder of the company Go2, will offer local customers an optional method of transportation via a downloaded application.
Users will then be able to pay per minute to get from destination to destination. Once the user downloads the Go2 app all they have to do is upload a copy of their driving licence as well as identification such as a passport. Once these documents are uploaded the customer is registered and insured and ready to top up their usage minutes via bank card, ABA pay or Wing.
These eco-friendly motorcycles, painted bright yellow and covered in the company’s logo are run through battery power packs. These packs can be swapped within minutes, unlike other electrically charged vehicles that need to be plugged in and charged for several hours.
This trend has taken off across the globe already with a lot of places in Europe, China and the USA offering a similar service but with electric push scooters as well as other electric vehicles to move around busy cities. Most of these businesses in major cities are set up around a ride-share model. As long as you have the app and you find an empty scooter in the street you can log in and away you go.
Carl, 58, is backed by five partners, said: “We have decided to use a ride-share model so we are not knocking on doors trying to sell something. We are giving the option of a very inexpensive way of getting around the city. We initially give the customer once they have downloaded the app a two-hour free period then, after that, it’s three cents per minute. We have these bikes located at the 13 Circle-K outlets in Phnom Penh because they are open 24 hours and usually have large spaces outside to park the bikes. We currently have around 40 bikes in Phnom Penh with the hope of having 110 by the end of the year.”
There are currently three types of systems for the ride-and-share style business. The first example being a system in which you put bikes or scooters all around a city and the customer can pick it up and drop it off anywhere they like (even on a random roadside).
The second system is a dock system. This means a customer has to pick it up at one location and drop it off at the same place. The last is a hybrid system that allows the customer to pick it up from one dock but is permitted to leave it at another of the company’s locations.
Carl went on to say: “We have chosen the hybrid system for our business because we only currently have 40 bikes out. If we ran the first system, customers may struggle to find a bike. We have currently around 20 bikes sat in the dock at Circle-K stores. The other 20 bikes are either out with customers or out in the city somewhere.”
Go2 reported that 250 people have currently downloaded the app and around 100 people have used the service. The company employs seven Khmer staff. There are obviously a large number of tuktuks as a means of getting around the city but the majority of these start at 75 cents. In comparison a 20-minute ride would only cost the rider 60 cents using one of the electric bikes.
Go2 currently only advertise through Facebook ads but use word of mouth primarily. Carl said: “We aren’t really advertising at the moment because we don’t have many bikes. When we get more bikes we will start to advertise more. We expect to have 500 bikes in Phnom Penh by 2021.”
When asked about whether COVID-19 has affected the business, Carl said: “We launched this during COVID-19 knowing there would be risks. One of our main target audiences are students who often eat and drink in Circle-K as well as study in there. Since COVID-19 arrived, all of the schools and universities have been closed so the audience we were aiming for were not there.”
This new concept to Cambodia is another step into the modern era. As well as this business being eco-friendly, it also works on cashless payments and through an app.