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Bike Sharing App Goes Bankrupt After 90% of Bikes were Stolen

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source: insider.co.uk

A Chinese bike-sharing start-up has shut down after just five months after 90 per cent of its cycles vanished.

Chongqing-based Wukong Bikes aimed to join the country's growing 'Uber for Bikes' firms by hiring out two-wheelers mainly to students in the city.

But they did not put GPS systems on their bikes and by the time it realised the technology was vital the business was out of cash.

It's believed to be the first bankruptcy of China's booming bike-sharing industry.

Tencent-backed Mobike and Ofo, supported by Alibaba and Xiaomi, are dominating the market.

Founder Lei Houyi told local media that as well as the lack of GPS, his firm had struggled because its bikes were of inferior quality to those used by its larger competitors and were damaged too easily.

He added that while users were initially charged, Wukong resorted to giving away bicycles rides for free to try and compete with other players.

In China, rather than having fixed docking stations, all the firms are app based.

In most cases, bikes are fitted with a GPS chip, allowing users to locate a bike. They pay for the hire with their smartphones and then unlock it - sometimes using a QR code.

After they have finished the journey, customers can leave the bike anywhere.

That has proved problematic at times, with bikes abandoned in remote locations where another rider is unlikely to find it or want it.

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