China to Regulate Booming Bike-Sharing Industry
BEIJING, China – The inevitable is to take place; major cities in China want to get rid of the meters high piles of bicycles that come with the popular bike-sharing schemes. Orderly parked bikes is the goal for which China is now considering regulating the booming bike-sharing services.
In a city like Shenzhen one can see public bikes that have been dumped on meters high piles. People living in these cities are getting increasingly annoyed by the fact that they stumble over these bikes at every street corner.
China’s Ministry of Transport has started to solicit public opinion on drafting rules requiring local governments to better manage the bike-sharing schemes and to arrange orderly parking.
The rules draft states that parking zones should be established around major transportation hubs, shopping areas and office blocks and that the parking of public bikes should be supervised.
This draft also requires the construction of cycleways and suggests that the bike-sharing sector should use real-name registration. In addition, the rules forbid children under the age of 12 from riding public bikes and bans public electric bikes.
50 million users
The bike-sharing business took off in big Chinese cities less than two years ago. It allows riders to hire bikes for as little as one yuan (about 15 US cents) per hour via a mobile app and drop them off anywhere for the next user. Bike-sharing has reduced traffic congestion and cut auto emissions. But hazardly parked bikes often block sidewalks and lead to complaints.
In 2016 there were 18.9 million users of public bicycles in China. This number is expected to hit 50 million by the end of 2017.
Limiting ease of use
It’s clear that the new rules for public bikes will affect the bike-sharing boom in China as they limit the ease of use. With that it is expected that also less public bikes have to be assembled. 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!
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 March Taipei Cycle Show. Here insiders also said that by the end of 2017 the bike-share craziness in China will stop.