While bike-sharing services may be blowing up in popularity in China, they are still running into a few speed bumps along the way.
Shanghai authorities have recently seized over 4,000 shared bikes which had been parked illegally around the city. Colorful photos of a parking lot in Huangpu district filled with thousands of seized bikes lit up the Chinese internet yesterday.
The bikes were left parked in the sidewalk or even on the street, annoying local residents. While individuals may take the time to properly park their own personal bicycles, they apparently can’t be troubled to afford the same level of care to rental bikes. This lack of concern, coupled with the skyrocketing number of shared bikes and the limited number of places to park them in Shanghai, has created headaches for the bike-sharing companies.
According to the Shanghai Bike Industry Association, there are 12 bike-sharing apps operating in the city with 280,000 bikes in total. Obviously, it’s impossible to keep track of them all.
“There’s a company with over 100,000 bikes in Shanghai, but only 50 people to operate and maintain them, which of course causes trouble,” an official said.
Most of the seized bikes belong to Mobike, the leading bike sharing service in China. The company told Shanghai Daily that it was currently negotiating their release with the Shanghai government.
At the end of last year, there were an estimated 18.86 million bike-sharing app users in China. That number is expected to triple in 2017, making the Chinese bike-sharing industry a favorite destination for investors’ money. Ofo recently raised $450 million in a fresh round of funding, trying its best to keep pace with Mobike in the expensive wars to come.
[Images via Global Times]
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