The wheels are coming off the Chinese bike-sharing sector. Leading provider Bluegogo, which only launched last year, has gone out of business, with $90 million in funding running off-piste, after losing a number of executives and suspending salary payments.
Bluegogo, which also had operations in the US, is the third-ranked operator after Mobike and Ofo (with an impressive/astounding combined $1 billion in financing) and had deployed a fleet of some 700,000 bikes across China by mid-2017. According to local reports, the company had already suspended bike orders from suppliers back in April due to financial difficulties.
In what is a hugely competitive business, Beijing-based 3Vbike closed operations during the summer after its bicycles went missing, presumed stolen, while Wukong Bicycle in Chongqing also shut down, as did Nanjing-based Dingding after it stopped refunding customer deposits.
With Bluegogo’s failure, the bike-sharing bubble may well have burst in China with investors holding back on future funding.
Asian bicycle sharers have come under increasing fire in Europe as the dockless-bikes have been littering pavements in a number of cities, inciting municipalities to tighten regulations.