China’s love affair with ride-share bikes
The bike-sharing business has boomed in China's big cities in the past few years. These "Uber for bikes" services cost as little as one yuan (about 15 U.S. cents) per hour, using a mobile app, and can be dropped off anywhere, ready for the next user, unlike traditional rental services where bikes must be returned to fixed docking stations.
There are now over 20 bike-sharing brands in China, placing millions of bicycles on streets around the country. There were 18.9 million users of shared bikes nationwide in 2016 and the number is expected to hit 50 million by the end of the year, according to the China E-Commerce Research Center.
For most users in China, shared bikes get them to the office or back home from the metro station, avoiding crowded buses during peak times, the so-called ‘Last Mile,’ of people’s commute. Plus they are easy to pay for and park after use.
China’s bike-share companies are eyeing international expansion in the next few years, so it’s likely China’s rediscovered love of the bike will become a worldwide phenomenon.