Caixin
Jan 29, 2018 07:26 PM
BUSINESS & TECH

Quick Take: Beijing's Shared-Bike Swarm Shrinks, But Barely

Shared bikes are piled up on a Beijing street on Jan. 16. The Chinese capital currently has 2.2 million shared bikes, down from 2.35 million four months ago, said Zhou Zhengyu, director of the Beijing Municipal Commission of Transportation. Photo: VCG
Shared bikes are piled up on a Beijing street on Jan. 16. The Chinese capital currently has 2.2 million shared bikes, down from 2.35 million four months ago, said Zhou Zhengyu, director of the Beijing Municipal Commission of Transportation. Photo: VCG

The total number of shared bikes in Beijing has fallen by 150,000 since last September, when the capital began banning new units from coming onto its streets, according to a transportation bureau official.

The Chinese capital currently has 2.2 million shared bikes, down from 2.35 million four months ago, said Zhou Zhengyu, director of the Beijing Municipal Commission of Transportation.

China has ramped up regulations across the country to rein in the frenzy of growth in the sector. As companies poured new two-wheelers onto streets to increase their market shares, city managers struggled to keep up, and citizen complaints mounted, mainly about cluttered sidewalks and swarms of cyclists.

Users have also complained that companies — some of which have since gone under — were not refunding users’ deposits. Last month, the China Consumers Association (CCA) issued a public warning to second-tier player Kuqi.

Other major Chinese cities — including Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hangzhou — have also banned new shared bikes.

But companies have flouted the rules, adding bikes secretly or disguising new units as used ones. In November, the local government of the southern metropolis of Guangzhou singled out industry leaders Mobike and Ofo for such violations.

After three years of rapid development, the sector has become saturated, but this has not deterred continued investment and the entrance of new players.

Earlier this month, leading shared-car provider Didi Chuxing announced it would steer into the shared-bike business, surprising competitors.

Last week, sources told Caixin that Mobike had raised around $1 billion in its latest fundraising round.

Contact reporter Mo Yelin (yelinmo@caixin.com)

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