Mobike, one of the world's biggest smart bike-sharing companies, said it would refund all its Chinese users' deposits -- Rmb1billion ($150million), according to an industry insider -- heightening competition with rival ofo.
The refund was aided by Meituan's acquisition earlier this year of Mobike, a deal valued at $3.7billion including debt.
Meituan, the food delivery and online services platform, is the world's fourth most valuable private technology company.
"The move is designed to establish a no-threshold, zero-burden and zero-condition deposit-free standard for the entire bike-sharing industry," Mobike said in a statement.
However, such a standard would pile pressure on smaller players who do not have the large balance sheets to absorb the risks of theft or vandalism to bikes.
"By refunding deposits and going deposit-free we are making it easier to Mobike than ever before," said Hu Weiwei, company founder.
Mobike has 200 million registered users across the world, although the deposit-free scheme will only apply in China, where users have paid up to Rmb299 for their deposits.