A primer on China’s booming bike-sharing industry

Business & Technology

Top business and technology news for April 11, 2017. Part of the daily SupChina news roundup "Big bucks for catching spies in Beijing."

FILE PHOTO: An Apple logo hangs above the entrance to the Apple store on 5th Avenue in the Manhattan borough of New York City, July 21, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo

Caixin has published a review of the Chinese bike-sharing industry. It’s not a news story, but a careful look, with numbers and details of business models, at a sector that is growing exponentially. On SupChina we’ve covered bike-sharing in very positive terms, as China is the only country where companies have scaled up a model for renting bikes that really works, largely because customers can use their smartphones to easily unlock bikes that can be picked up and left anywhere. But there are plenty of problems: the possibility of restrictive government regulations, bikes left haphazardly clogging up sidewalks, and over-investment in the sector leading to worries of a bubble. Another aspect of the bike share boom is that it has revitalized China’s bicycle manufacturing industry. However, some commentators warn that bicycle and bike-parts manufacturers who have expanded their plants risk running into trouble when the bike-share investment fever abates.