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.
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:
“We had expected some losses, but never thought it would be so serious that nearly 100% of the bicycles disappeared, which is far beyond our predictions. To date, we could only locate less than a hundred out of more than one thousand bicycles.
Start-ups must be prudent in investing in the bike-sharing industry, and only those with sufficient funding can sustain their operations.”
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.
Founder of Wukong Bike, Lei Houyi, said that the company lost 1 million yuan (US$147,000) due to stolen bicycles. He said:
“Wukong Bike had a total of 1,200 bicycles in Chongqing City, but more than 90 percent went missing.”
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.