Covid-19 helps revitalize bicycle sharing service in China

The two leading bike-sharing apps in China, Mobike and Hellobike, have both witnessed impressive sales growth between the new strain of coronavirus.

In the past two years, the bike-sharing service has been paralyzed in China after the boom. Millions of bikes are thrown into landfills. However, the South China Morning Post reports that Chinese bike-sharing companies are seeing impressive sales growth as the Covid-19 epidemic restricts urban commuting.

On social media, many Chinese say bicycles allow them to travel in open spaces without having to interact with anyone around them.

According to Xinhua, even an expert at the China Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that this is the form of public transport with the lowest risk of coronary virus infection.

The interest of users is helping to revive bike-sharing companies in China in difficult times, especially in the Wuhan epidemic center (Hubei province).

Hellobike, one of China’s largest bike-sharing providers, said trips over 3 km tripled on Jan. 22 and January 24, when Wuhan closed public transport service.

The proportion of trips around hospitals, supermarkets and food markets increased by 5% compared to before the outbreak. Not only in Wuhan, bike-sharing companies are also making a profit in China.

Hellobike said the trip longer than 3 km nationwide has doubled over the same period last year. Meituan, the owner of the bike brand Mobike, also announced that the number of trips longer than 3 km doubled from a month earlier.

Didi, the company that owns Qingju Bike, said the number of trips has increased by more than 150% nationwide since early February.

However, analysts say this is only a temporary revival. The recent increase does not mean that users will stick with the bike sharing service when things are back to normal.

“However, in the long run, this industry is still difficult to recover and develop. When the epidemic is under control and the situation returns to normal, consumers will return to their old migration habits. ”

The bike-sharing service in China boomed sharply in 2017 and 2018. However, the service was in recession, leading to mass bankruptcies. Giant bicycle cemeteries spring up like mushrooms all over the country.

Sun Naiyue, an analyst at Analysys, said the disease is a good opportunity for bike-sharing companies to prove their value.

The growth may not last long because people still require comfort, time and convenience when traveling. And they are back again with buses and subways.

Mr. Sun added that the new strain of coronavirus could also make users pay more attention to the electric bicycle sharing service.