Smart city

Bike-sharing startups don’t want to share

  • 27 Jul
    2017

An aggregator for bike-sharing apps seemed to be a good idea to solve the problem of availability of bikes in busy streets. Not according to the app themselves.

Even though the dockless bike-sharing concept is still viewed as innovative and very attractive to the Chinese market, many problems have been arising for the last months, making it difficult for companies such as Ofo or Mobike to run peacefully their business. One of them is particularly crippling for users: when you need a bike at peak times, it’s hard to find the one you have registered ; but there’s still a lot of bikes parking everywhere near, unfortunately, not registrable yet. From the companies’ side: there’s a clear wasting of resources, as the bikes can’t be used.

Recently an app called ‘Quan Neng Che’ (“Omnipotent Bicycle”) caught people’s attention. It’s an app which can open connected bikes from 11 brands with just one registration. Users just need to create one account for them all and to pay one deposit; the unlocking processes specific to each brand remaining the same. Even marketing tools can still be enjoyed by users. From the users’ perspective, it really frees them from installing several app and from thousands yuan of deposit.

Once again, a startup is trying to “save” the bike-sharing concept but both Mobike and Ofo had released statement saying that ‘they never provided authorization for this software or enter into any cooperation with it’’. They are currently ‘banning this app through a variety of technical methods’. In addition, some users also worry about the deposit safety, as the cash pool is not under supervision.

Written by Hanna Chen, Strategic Analyst at L'Atelier BNP Paribas