China’s Mobike to restrict rider parking in Beijing as authorities tighten regulation on dockless bikes
Mobike, the Chinese bike sharing firm owned by the on-demand services conglomerate Meituan Dianping, will prohibit Beijing riders from parking bikes outside a specified operational area.
Mobike said in a statement posted on its WeChat account that it has set a boundary that determines how far away from the city centre riders can park their bikes. If they park outside this zone, which stretches from Xiaotangshan in the north to the sixth ring road in the south, they will be alerted by a text message.
Riders who park outside the zone more than once will be fined an unspecified amount, deducted from the balance of money in their Mobike account. The bike sharing firm will also encourage riders to park in recommended parking lots by rewarding them with coupons if they do so.
Mobike’s move comes after local governments across the country, including those in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, have banned companies from introducing more bikes on streets to minimise the inconvenience and chaos caused by illegally parked bikes.
Bike-sharing took off in China in late 2016 with dozens of start-ups deploying millions of the two-wheelers on city pavements, funded by billions of dollars in venture capital money. Market leaders Mobike and Ofo have since expanded across Southeast Asia, Japan, the United States and Europe, though both have pulled back from some overseas markets like Australia and Israel in recent weeks.
The once rapid growth in the industry has cooled down, with the number of bike-sharing users in the country forecast to grow 14.6 per cent in 2018, a steep drop from 600 per cent growth in 2017, according to a report by market research firm iiMedia.
Singapore, where Mobike and Ofo operate, plans to regulate the parking of dockless bikes by introducing a geofencing system by the end of this year.