Mobike waives deposit for local riders

Shared bike company Mobike has announced yesterday that it has waived its 299 yuan (US$45) deposit for users in Shanghai.

Shared bike company Mobike has announced yesterday that it has waived its 299 yuan (US$45) deposit for users in Shanghai.

New users can register on the Mobike app without ponying up for a deposit. Those who already paid can apply for a refund through the app, and have the money returned to their account within seven working days, the company said.

Mobike also launched a new e-bike yesterday to complement its existing fleet. The electric bike has a designed top speed of 20 kilometers per hour.

Major Mobike rival ofo recently canceled its deposit-free policy and started charging a 199 yuan deposit from all existing riders last month after hitting cash flow issues.

With new regulations on Shanghai’s shared bike market set for release in August, many see big changes on the horizon for the burgeoning industry.

“The new regulations will probably limit the number of each company’s bikes according to the credit of their users and the condition of their bikes,” said Ma Yibing from ofo. “Relatively speaking our bikes are in the worst condition, compared to others.”

Another share bike company, Hellobike also waived the deposit after receiving several rounds of funding from Ant Finance.

Hellobike entered Shanghai after the city’s traffic authority banned new bikes from its streets. But hellobike managed to cooperate with Minhang District to put a relatively small number of bikes on local roads as “a demonstration of the image as a local based entrepreneurial firm.”

While the company claimed to have put only 3,000 bikes on the streets of Minhang, Hellobikes can be seen around the city.

Besides financing, a major issue for the industry has been maintenance.

Recently the chairman of Shanghai Bicycle Association, Guo Jianrong, said that at least 60 percent of shared bikes in Shanghai are broken.

“We are all fully aware that the new regulation will and should further restrain the number of these bikes,” said Guo. “Waiving deposits is not the ultimate solution for the industry.”


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