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Chinese bike-sharing companies go global

op business and technology news for March 24, 2017. Part of the daily SupChina news roundup "Not your daddy’s propaganda."
1 month ago
Jeremy Goldkorn

You can’t go anywhere in a major Chinese city without seeing colorful bicycles provided by more than a dozen startup companies that have attracted more than a billion dollars of funding. The services are innovative because they allow users to pick up and leave the bikes anywhere, using their smartphones to unlock and pay for the rides, rather than needing a credit card at a docking station (see SupChina’s feature on bike sharing for more details). The Wall Street Journal reports that some of the funding and experience from the Chinese bike-sharing companies is heading to the U.S., Singapore, and the U.K. The two biggest bike-share companies, Ofo and Mobike, displayed their bikes at the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas, earlier this month, while the Beijing-based startup Bluegogo International has begun testing in San Francisco with 200 bikes. Mobike has launched in Singapore, while Ofo is running trials in San Diego, California, and Cambridge in the U.K. Finally, LimeBike is a California-based startup looking to introduce Chinese-style bike sharing to U.S. cities. According to the Wall Street Journal, the company is “run by current and former Chinese venture capitalists.”

Back in China, two weeks after Shanghai introduced rules to manage bike-sharing services, the China Daily says that bicycle associations in cities across China have produced a draft guideline to regulate the industry, which is currently “awaiting public opinion” and “expected to take effect in May.”

By Jeremy Goldkorn
Jeremy Goldkorn is co-founder of the Sinica Podcast and currently edits SupChina and its daily newsletter.
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