Bike Sharing Schemes in China Bring Components Shortages
TAIPEI, Taiwan – It was one of the most discussed topics at last week’s Taipei Cycle Show; the current huge demand for basic bicycles destined for usage at the many bike sharing schemes in China. These bicycles are currently produced by the hundreds of thousands per month. This is said to be leading to parts shortages.
Currently the biggest Chines makers are producing them in unheard of quantities. Fushida is said to produce the coming months from 700,000 to 1.2 million units per month! And this is not the only bicycle producer that has orders for hundreds of thousands per month. One of the biggest bike sharing operators in the country, Mobike, even signed an exclusive strategic partnership with Foxconn Technology Group, known as the manufacturer of Apple iPhones, in a move to double the annual bicycle production capacity to more than 10 million units!
Cheapest form of mobility
The bike sharing craziness in China is fueled by the ease of use as we as the fact that it is the cheapest as well as the most efficient form of short distance mobility available in Chinese cities. New tech companies like Ofo, Mobike or Bluegogo introduced bike sharing schemes that do not operate as in Europe with docking stations. Users in China can simply rent them on demand with a with a smartphone app telling them where the nearest bike is parked. After the ride the rented bicycle can be then be parked wherever they choose.
The ease of use features have brought about an explosion of colourful public bikes in all major Chinese cities. Currently there are more than 10 bike-sharing companies now. They have international funding. Media in China for instance state that Mobike has raised USD 215 million in its latest funding round. These media also say that the ten companies are in cutthroat competition with each other for users and profit.
In the meantime in a city like Shenzhen one can see public bikes that have been dumped on the streets. Pictures show huge piles, even up to meters high of these bikes while people living in these cities are getting increasingly annoyed by the fact that they stumble over these bikes at every street corner.
The huge production volumes of the Chinese public bikes are said to be leading to shortages in components like low priced handlebars, pedals, saddles, rims and tyres. This was circulating at last week’s Taipei Cycle Show. Here insiders also said that by the end of this year the bike-share craziness in China will stop.