• Top
    • Company Initiatives
    • Mobby and LINE Take on the Challenge of Community Building Made Possible by their Unique Positions

    Mobby and LINE Take on the Challenge of Community Building Made Possible by their Unique Positions

    Mobby and LINE Take on the Challenge of Community Building Made Possible by their Unique Positions サムネイル画像

    [Notice] Effective October 1, 2023, LINE Fukuoka has changed its company name to LY Communications. Articles published on or before September 30, 2023 were written with our former company name.

    In October, mobby, the e-scooter sharing service announced its collaboration with LINE Fukuoka. A month has passed since verification testing began at Kyushu University, and as of December 6, locations where mobby is available on campus will expand.

    Why hold verification testing in the first place? Why work together with LINE Fukuoka? We sat down with Mr. Atake of mobby ride and the Smart City Strategy Department's Mr. Sakaguchi to ask them about the project they took on.
    Note: There is also information about a promotion starting December 6 at Kyushu University at the end of this article!

    Left:Shuichi Atake - mobby ride, Inc., Business Development
    Mr. Atake is originally from Aichi Prefecture, and gained experience in FinTech after graduating from university in Tokyo before assuming his current position in June 2019.

    Right: Mr. Kyohei Sakaguchi - Smart City Strategy Department, Business Planner
    Mr. Sakaguchi was born in Fukuoka Prefecture, and after graduating from a university in the Kansai region and gaining experience in planning at an advertising agency, changed jobs in December 2018. Previous projects he has been a part of include the G20 LINE Official Account and the ANA Holdings Inc. drone delivery joint project.

    Reason for challenge(mobby side)

    The desire for proper understanding of the safety and convenience of e-scooters

    ― Why did verification testing for this project begin originally?

    Atake:Because currently e-scooters can't be used in the way we want them to. We want them to be able to be used on public roads freely in Japan like other countries. In order to clear up issues and achieve that reality, we are taking several actions including this test.

    Note: Currently, e-scooters are categorized as motorized bicycles under Japanese law. This means users need to have a driver’s license to drive e-scooters on public roads, as well as comply with various safety standards (such as getting a license plate and installing indicators). All of this has made it difficult to use e-scooters as an easy mode of transport, which is their original purpose.
    With approval from the regulatory sandbox system, a full-scale verification test of “mobby” e-scooter use on Kyushu University’s Ito Campus started from November 1. Based on the data obtained from the test, mobby ride plans to work on developing a system to make e-scooters more readily available to users in Japan.

    Atake:One of the issues that e-scooters currently face is that some people think that they're dangerous, so we need to figure out how to change that impression.

    For example, we're currently proposing testing use in factories, but bicycles are already widely used in factories.One of mobby's features is that its speed can be limited, and it can be programmed not to go into off-limits areas, which actually makes it safer than a bicycle. Additionally, in factories, you have to take time to go to the office to borrow and return a key, so there are cases of bicycles themselves become less popular. Our e-scooters can be locked and unlocked on LINE, so there's no need to manage keys.
    E-scooters can also actually already be purchased in Japan, so sometimes you see people riding them in Tokyo or Fukuoka. We also think that's one of the issues we face. They could possibly harm the mission of what we're trying to achieve, which is to change the system so that e-scooters can be ridden safely and conveniently.

    It's easy to imagine what an e-scooter does when you see an actual one, but information about their safety, convenience, and the current reality of legal regulations isn't being conveyed properly.So we think it's absolutely crucial to create opportunities to properly communicate the facts and the future we're aiming for through events like this verification test and demonstrations.

    Sakaguchi:I rode a mobby e-scooter at a testing event before we decided to work together, and riding it made me think that I want them to become a reality quicker, and that I want to use one for my commute. I'm also cheering for them personally.
    A lot of employees of mobby ride say "we're not an e-scooter company," but "we're going to create a system that allows for mobility solutions to be implemented socially more easily." When we announced the beginning of verification testing, the message of changing the system from Fukuoka really resonated with me.

    Atake:Our Representative Mr. Hyuga often says that we're not trying to do the e-scooter business, our final goal is to be involved in community building. However,that's a really lofty topic, so we thought about what we could do from our current position. Mobility is an essential element of building a community, so we decided to start with the challenge of making mobility solutions like e-scooters easier and safer to use.

    Sakaguchi:Now we just need to take care of the final issues. This might be from a bit of a different perspective, but I actually caught a cold last weekend. When you're not feeling well, that short distance of 3-400 meters from your house to the convenience store is really tough. We have both a bicycle and a car at my house, but I thought that mobby would be a perfect fit trips like that. I really needed mobby last week. (Laughs)

    Atake:I understand how you feel. (Laughs) It's been about two months since I came to Fukuoka, and shared bicycles are really popular here. They weren't being used at all when I came a year ago, but now they're popular with young people.
    I think that means that mobby will also be a good fit for them.
    A demonstration was held at SMART CITY DAY. Many curious visitors came to try out a mobby e-scooter.

    Atake:We began verification testing at Kyushu University in November, and everyone's taken the time to answers surveys which is a big help to us. Most people also write why they gave a certain evaluation, which gives a lot of information.

    Testing ends in March, but we've received a lot of feedback that people want to keep using e-scooters afterwards as well. There are issues to continuing the test, but students have told us that they have quite a lot of problems getting around campus, so I want to create an environment that lets them focus on their real work, which is studying.


    Why LINE took on the challenge

    Accelerating Fukuoka's transformation into a Smart City through use of the LINE Platform

    ― How did you originally decide to utilize LINE for your service platform?

    Atake:Actually we had partially made a stand-alone app. However, our service can't currently be used just anywhere, and it's currently only available at Kyushu University. It's a big hurdle to get customers to download an app just for that.

    When we made a mobile payment app at my previous company, I also learned that it's really difficult to get people to download a new app.

    Of course if we make our own we can gather a lot of data, but at our current stage I think it would be egotistical to expect users to download an app, try it out, and then get on a scooter. When we discussed other options that didn't have quite as high of a hurdle, LINE presented itself as an option immediately.

    Sakaguchi:We're working to transform Fukuoka into a world-famous Smart City that everyone can be proud of.Our representative initiative is the Fukuoka City LINE Official Account to make life more convenient, but we also believe that if convenient sharing services like mobby andi-Kasa are available on theLINE platform, then that will also make the lives of users on the platform more convenient."Life on LINE" is our company's vision, but by working together with other companies we want to be able to cover a wider range of aspects of daily life in a timelier manner.

    Just like mobby thought about doing from scratch with e-scooters, we wanted the LINE Platform to be used for a variety of services and mobility options,and collaborated with other companies like our summer verification test with ANA for drone delivery.

    We believe that this initiative with mobby will garner interest from other companies for collaboration and that will lead to the creation of a better service.

    Atake:When we decided to start a mobility company, we looked at mobility as a service (MaaS) from a variety of angles, and thought that becoming a MaaS operator was our best option but that was a big hurdle for us.

    Having our service on a platform like LINE that's used every day by a wide range of customers was the key to them thinking of us as convenient. Even now there are other MaaS apps being released, but downloading a new app is still a hassle. We think that working together with LINE in the long-term is important as well, not just in this initiative.

    Sakaguchi:Thank you. Just as you said, LINE's strength is that it already has a big user base. From a mobility within Fukuoka perspective, JR Kyushu and Nishi-Nippon Railroad have announced collaboration. Representatives from both companies took the stage at the recent Smart City Day event, and we want to utilize our strengths to find more new ways to work together. In the future, I hope that we can create synergy through collaboration with other companies including one with mobby!


    First challenge

    Changing the system from Fukuoka and Kyushu University!

    Atake:Our external communication abilities are still weak. As I said earlier, we still have the issue of people being properly aware of what we're doing, so I'm grateful that people learn more about us through information delivered by LINE, including this interview.

    You've been a great help to us, Mr. Sakaguchi. We should be proposing ideas to you, but we haven't quite been able to get around to that, but Mr. Sakaguchi has been a step ahead and suggested more and more ideas. Those ideas have taken shape one after the other, which has been a big plus for our business. Thank you very much.

    Sakaguchi:Mobby is an important player that's on the front lines of realizing the vision of e-scooters on public roads. We are fans of your challenge of changing the system from Fukuoka, and want to provide you with all of the support we can. The first step is to make sure our verification test at Kyushu University is a success!


    You can also follow us on social media to get regular updates about career opportunities and the initiatives LINE Fukuoka is undertaking!

    LINE Official Account (LINE ID: @linefukuoka)
    Official Facebook account
    Official Twitter account


    LY Communications Official social media accounts

    Get blog update announcements and the latest
    information about LY Communications!