1. Ofo bicycles in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province November 25, 2016
2. Mobike bicycles in Chengdu, Sichuan Province
3. XiaomingBike bicycles in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province
4. A man rides a Bluegogo hire bike in Shenzhen
5. An Ofo advertisement in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, December 27, 2016
6. Mobile app for unlocking bikes
7. Ofo app showing an unlocking code
8. Unlocking process for XiaomingBike
Once known as the “Kingdom of Bicycles,” China has witnessed a recent boom of its former favorite transport over the past year. High-tech bike-sharing services have pushed tens of thousands of two-wheelers onto the streets of urban China. Though sharing bikes in cities such as Paris and London is hardly new, what makes China’s bike-share boom stand out is the technology.
Chinese bike-sharing startups, such as Mobike and Ofo, offer services that allow users to find and pay for bicycles via a smartphone app and then leave the vehicle wherever they please, rather than collecting from and returning to dedicated stands. Mobike’s orange-wheeled bicycles have GPs devices installed that can be tracked by users’ smartphones. Ofo – so named because the word looks like a bicycle – sends users the combination code to unlock its bright yellow bikes while Mobikes’ locks pop open remotely. According to the statistics from Zhidx.com, a newswire on the smart technology industry, by the end of 2016, approximately 300,000 hire bikes had been put into use in first- and second-tier cities, operated by 17 bike-sharing companies.
With hundreds of thousands of shared bicycles hitting the road, a lot of problems follow. Too many bikes are parked at random throughout the city, making life even harder for pedestrians; sometimes users find it difficult to actually track down a bike even though it’s there on the smartphone map; moreover, lots of bikes have been stolen or damaged by unscrupulous users. On December 28, shenzhen became the first city in China to bring in regulations to specifically define the duties and obligations of the government, bike-sharing enterprises and users.
1. A bike-sharing bicycle on the Bund, Shanghai
2. Several bike-sharing bikes in Shanghai
3. Ofo bikes under the CCTV building in Beijing
4. A broken bike-sharing bike in Shanghai
5. A public bike is locked in Shanghai, breaking the rules
6. A Mobike bike without a saddle in Shanghai
7. A worker moving Ofo bikes at Renmin University in Beijing
8. Bikes fall like dominoes in Shenzhen
9. An abandoned bike in Guangzhou