- Title: Bike-share app boom brings fierce competition, floods of bikes to Chinese cities
- Date: 12th May 2017
- Summary: LOCK AROUND WHEEL OF BIKE UNLOCKING 28-YEAR-OLD BEIJING RESIDENT AND ASSISTANT RESTAURANT MANAGER, HOU ZHANTU, TAKING HOLD OF BIKE HANDLES HOU'S FEET PEDALLING HOU RIDING BIKE BEIJING STREET SEEN FROM FRONT OF MOVING BIKE (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) 28-YEAR-OLD BEIJING RESIDENT AND ASSISTANT RESTAURANT MANAGER, HOU ZHANTU, SAYING: "But if it's this bike, I can ride it at any time I want, and when I'm tired I can just take some other form of public transportation. Because you can ride it anytime, anywhere, it's really convenient to ride." DANYANG CITY, JIANGSU PROVINCE, CHINA (RECENT - APRIL 13, 2017) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF PEOPLE WORKING AT BIKE-SHARING COMPANY OFO'S BIKE FACTORY TIME LAPSE OF BICYCLE ASSEMBLY LINE BEIJING, CHINA (RECENT - APRIL 7, 2017) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) CO-FOUNDER OF BIKE-SHARING COMPANY OFO, ZHANG SIDING, SAYING: "We hope that for the future of the city's development process, planning will no longer be centered around small cars, but we want it to be more like Copenhagen or Amsterdam, like these northern European countries. Every bike and every bike passenger will gain the same amount of respect on the road, instead of having cars ride in front of me and honking at me. I think this is a really inhuman type of city." BEIJING, CHINA (RECENT - APRIL 26, 2017) (REUTERS) PEOPLE WALKING PAST BIKE-SHARING COMPANY MOFO'S BIKES LINED UP ON STREET COMMUTERS WHEELING, RIDING BIKES NEAR SUBWAY STATION BEIJING, CHINA (RECENT - MARCH 17, 2017) (REUTERS) CO-FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF MOBIKE, HU WEIWEI, CHATTING MOBIKES ON DISPLAY, BIKE SEAT READING (English, Chinese): "MOBIKE" (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) CO-FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF BIKE-SHARING COMPANY MOBIKE, HU WEIWEI, SAYING: "Because in China when a lot of industries take off, they're really hot, so it's battle for companies to promote their product, and they call our industry a bike war. Basically, in this process, it will only be those who make the quality products that users need that will remain." BEIJING, CHINA (RECENT - APRIL 26, 2017) (REUTERS) COMMUTERS RIDING BIKES PASSED HUNDREDS OF BIKE-SHARING BIKES SCATTERED IN FRONT OF STATION COMMUTERS WALKING PAST SCATTERED BIKE-SHARING BIKES BEIJING, CHINA (RECENT - MARCH 23, 2017) (REUTERS) BIKE SHOP OWNER, ZHANG LIJUN, WALKING INTO HIS PRIVATE BIKE SHOP VARIOUS OF ZHANG CLEANING BIKE (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) BIKE SHOP OWNER, ZHANG LIJUN, SAYING: "When I came back at that time (February, after the Spring Festival), I felt as if the entire road was just full of bikes - it was really scary. I was very scared that this would be really clash with (our business). So by February our sales had dropped by one third in comparison to that of last February." SHANGHAI, CHINA (RECENT - APRIL 17, 2017) (REUTERS) PRINCIPLE CHINA MARKET RESEARCH GROUP RESEARCHER, BEN CAVENDER, SITTING AT DESK
- Embargoed: 26th May 2017 05:23
- Keywords: app mobile smartphone transport transportation urban landscape bike-sharing bikes China bicyles
- Location: BEIJING / DANYANG CITY, JIANGSU PROVINCE / SHANGHAI, CHINA
- City: BEIJING / DANYANG CITY, JIANGSU PROVINCE / SHANGHAI, CHINA
- Country: China
- Topics: Arts / Culture / Entertainment,Living / Lifestyle,Human Interest / Brights / Odd News,Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA0036GJ7Z2X
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Mobile bike-sharing apps in China have brought the once-dwindling population of bikes back with a vengeance to city streets.
The competition is proving so fierce that subway entrances and sidewalks are now piled high with bicycles, and the roads are seeing an onslaught of cyclists, particularly at peak hours.
With just a scan of the bike's QR code with a smartphone, you can jet off for a ride that costs just 1 yuan ($0.14). It can be picked up and dropped off anywhere.
Like many growing industries attempting to cash in on China's mobile-savvy consumers, bike sharing app companies are rapidly expanding across the country.
Ofo, known for its trademark yellow bikes, is now worth over $1 billion and has expanded to 100 cities globally since its founding in 2014, 70 of which were added this year alone. It claims 20 million registered users and also has pilot schemes in Singapore, the U.K., and the U.S.
Ofo's goal, according to its president Zhang Siding, who founded the company with a few fellow graduates from Peking University, is to reshape the urban space of Chinese cities.
"We hope that for the future of the city's development process, planning will no longer be centered around small cars, but we want it to be more like Copenhagen or Amsterdam," Zhang said.
Ofo's main competitor Mobike plans to add 10 million bikes to its arsenal this year, while Ofo said it will add 15 million to its already-existing arsenal of 5 million - all through bike manufactures and partner companies.
Mobike says they had initially planned to expand to 100 cities globally by the end of 2017, but that that target looks likely to be hit soon.
Onlookers call this an all-out "bike war", according to Mobike co-founder Hu Wei-wei. "It will only be those who make the quality products that users need that will remain."
The bike-share frenzy is still in the early stages, though - despite companies reaping in millions of dollars in investors' money, their rapid expansion has yet to produce any profits.
"There's nothing that really differentiates any of these companies from any of the other ones, so it's hard to say anybody is really doing a better job," said retail analyst Ben Cavender of China Market Research Group.
Private bike sellers in Beijing have also taken a major hit to business; Zhang Lijun, who has owned a chain of bike stores on the outskirts of Beijing since 2005, said sales had dropped by one third by March in comparison to last year.
The street clutter and bike traffic jams are also proving to be a problem, some locals say.
"After they're done riding they just toss the bikes on the road. This will affect pedestrians and cars on the road. That's really dangerous. We call on them to put the bikes along marked areas. But still there some very people who aren't very conscientious," said Zhang Jincheng, a local Ofo employee who collects scattered bikes - a new service bike-share companies are offering in response to complaints from urban residents.
Beijing and Shanghai have also recently issued draft guidelines to increase regulations on bikes, including standards for parking, maintenance, and production, to cope with the new transport trend.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2017. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None