In only 6 months, bike sharing firm “Wukong Bicycles” was declared bankrupt and has since closed down.
Here are some interesting facts about what happened.
Short life term
The firm, dubbed “Wukong Bicycles” was named after the Monkey King in the “Journey to the West” story, closed down only after 6 months of operations.
They had lost 90% of their bikes (most likely stolen or abused by riders, does that sound familiar??)
With that, they have the undesirable claim to fame by being the first casualty of China’s bike-sharing boom.
Fail to plan, plan to fail
The geographical disadvantage of bicycles in Chongqing proved too much as the city is hilly, rendering bicycles superfluous.
Lei Houyi, Wukong’s founder, did not find it necessary to implement GPS systems on their bikes.
Needless to say, they were unable to replenish their bicycles and had run out of money then.
Competitors racing ahead
This took place 2 days before Mobike secured $600 million in its latest Series E fundraising.
With Tencent backing Mobike and Alibaba supporting ofo, smaller competitors like Wukong will suffer.
Lei also said that the company was unable to secure a quality supplier, unlike their larger competitors, leading to the production of bicycles that were easily damaged.
Money to burn
Lei reportedly said, “The startup is closed now, I’ll think of it as a charity project.” The project costed him 3 million yuan in losses (roughly 600,000 sgd)
People got money leh, don’t play play.
Unwilling to punish offenders
In China, they are allegedly unable or unwilling to take hard action on abusers. This has led to wanton destruction without repercussion.
Future of bike sharing
Mobike and ofo possess more safety nets, capital and backing, making them more resistant to competition and inconsiderate riders.
Yet, ofo has come under scrutiny recently due to several instances of publicised abuse on social media. Public opinion is divided as to whether bike sharing is suitable for Singapore.
Singapore’s oBike has recently expanded into Melbourne, Australia with free trials to begin shortly.
San Fransico has started drafting laws to prevent the “unpermitted use of public realm as a distribution platform for private bike-share corporations.”
Should this be something for Singapore to look at??