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China’s Shared-Bike Services Keep Getting More Expensive

By Zhao Runhua / Nov 18, 2019 06:03 PM / Business & Tech

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

After a string of high-profile bankruptcies led to warnings about the imminent death of China’s bike-sharing sector, companies are continuing to raise prices in a bid to find profitability.

Mobike, the industry leader owned by food-delivery and city-service company Meituan Dianping, has quietly raised its overall riding fees in certain cities like Zhengzhou, where the basic price per ride is now 1.5 yuan ($0.21), up from 1 yuan previously.

Users must also fork out higher fees for longer rides instead of a one-off payment, according to the new rules, whose release date is unclear.

Meituan did not respond to Caixin’s request for comment regarding the scope and rationale of the changes prior to publication.

Meituan acquired Mobike for $2.7 billion in April last year. It admitted in its IPO prospectus that Mobike posted a gross loss of 407 million yuan in the first four months of 2018, while taking in 147 million yuan in revenue.

In a more recent report covering the first six months of 2019, Meituan did not specify Mobike’s earnings figures, but said the bike-sharing company had narrowed its losses and would continue to increase riding fees if deemed necessary.

Chinese bike-sharing firms have been nudging prices higher since March. In April, Alibaba-backed Hellobike raised overall fees for long-distance rides in some cities. Hellobike told Caixin that the company currently has no further plans to raise fares.

And in October, Mobike started changed its fee plan in Beijing so that trips taking less than 30 minutes would be more expensive than the standard city bus fare.

Ride-hailing giant Didi’s bike-sharing arm, Qingju, has maintained a basic fee of 1 yuan in many cities but charges higher extra hourly fees for longer trips, according to its terms of use. Didi also did not immediately respond to Caixin’s request for comment.

Related: Chinese Scooter-Maker Riding High As Profits Surge on U.S. Market Growth
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