China bike-sharing firm calls it quits after losing 90% of its bikes

A bicycle-sharing company in China, Wukong Bike, has become the first to shut down after 90 per cent of its bicycles went missing, just five months after it started operations.

The company, based in the south-western city of Chongqing, issued a statement last week, saying it was ceasing its services from this month, and withdrawing from the industry.

Founder Lei Houyi told Chinese news channel NTDTV.com yesterday that his failure cost the company more than a million yuan (S$200,000).

He said the company had 1,200 bicycles in Chongqing - half in Chongqing University City and the other half in the city itself.

However, a large number of the bicycles have gone missing, and only about 10 per cent can be located, he said.

Mr Lei added that his company was unable to secure a quality supplier like those that its competitors such as ofo bike engage. Instead, Wukong Bike worked with small suppliers and its bicycles were easily damaged.

Wukong Bike also said in its statement that it would refund its customers the outstanding value in their accounts, and requested that they contact customer service for assistance.

Mr Lei added that his company was unable to secure a quality supplier like those that its competitors such as ofo bike engage. Instead, Wukong Bike worked with small suppliers and its bicycles were easily damaged.

Singapore has had its own share of bike-sharing woes - with users damaging the two-wheelers or leaving them in remote locations.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 21, 2017, with the headline 'China bike-sharing firm calls it quits after losing 90% of its bikes'. Print Edition | Subscribe