Bike-Sharing in China: A Test of Morality

Bike-sharing services in China have nearly 100 percent of bikes stolen. (Image: Brqdley Schroeder  via  flickr  CC BY-SA 2.0)
Bike-sharing services in China have nearly 100 percent of bikes stolen. (Image: Brqdley Schroeder via flickr CC BY-SA 2.0)

Only four months after launching its bike-sharing services in February, 3Vbike bike-sharing decided to close down its operations after more than 1,000 bicycles were stolen. This is the second major bike-sharing company in Mainland China to close down in 2017 after “Wukong Bike” announced its exit from the market a month earlier.

In February of this year, Beijing Huayaodi Technology Ltd. launched 3Vbike bike-sharing in China’s 3rd-tier cities, including the Hebei Province cities of Baoding, Langfang, Qinhuangdao, Beidaihe, and Putian of Fujian Province by placing more than 1,000 bicycles in service. At one point, user registration reached 11,000 and the maximum order per day was up to 500 units.

Beijing Huayaodi Technology Ltd. launched the “3Vbike” bike-sharing in China’s 3rd-tier cities by placing more than one thousand bicycles in service. (Image: Brqdley Schroeder via flickr CC BY-SA 2.0)

Beijing Huayaodi Technology Ltd. launched 3Vbike bike-sharing in China’s 3rd-tier cities by placing more than 1,000 bicycles in service. (Image: Brqdley Schroeder via flickr CC BY-SA 2.0)

However, in just four months, most of the bicycles were either stolen or abandoned in ditches or in withered grass near rivers.

The founder of 3Vbike, Wu Shenghua, said:

In fact, a few days after 3Vbike’s announcement, Wukong Bike, another new bike-sharing company, which had operated for just five months, also announced that they are withdrawing from the market.

Wukong’s mechanical locks, in contrast to market leaders, Mobike and Ofo, who use Bluetooth-enabled locks, made it easy for dishonest people to take the bicycles without payment. (Image: Brqdley Schroeder via flickr CC BY-SA 2.0)

Wukong’s mechanical locks, in contrast to market leaders Mobike and Ofo, who use Bluetooth-enabled locks, made it easy for dishonest people to take the bicycles without payment. (Image: Brqdley Schroeder via flickr CC BY-SA 2.0)

Founder of Wukong Bike, Lei Houyi, said that the company lost 1 million yuan (US$147,000) due to stolen bicycles. He said:

Wukong’s mechanical locks, in contrast to market leaders Mobike and Ofo, who use Bluetooth-enabled locks, made it easy for dishonest people to take the bicycles without payment.

At the time, Lei Houyi sated that it was a form of “testing” the moral standards of people in Mainland China. However, an increasing number of those same people wonder whether criminal punishment is the only way to prevent the shared bikes from being stolen or destroyed.

Translated by Chua BC and edited by Angela.

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