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这就开始了。中国媒体报道,中国第三大共享单车初创企业小蓝单车已停止运营,成为这个快速发展的科技行业中第一家倒下的大公司。同时,许多分析师都认为这个行业正迅速迈向“清算”时刻。

And so it begins. Chinese media report that Bluegogo, the nation’s third-largest dockless bike-sharing startup, has ceased operations, becoming the first major casualty in a fast-paced tech sector many analysts warn is hurtling towards a reckoning.

目前中国有近30家共享单车公司,它们都面向智能手机用户,采用随借随还,无桩停放模式,小蓝单车就是其中之一。这家公司2016年开业,吸引了超过9000万美元(约5.97亿元人民币)风投资金。鼎盛时期的小蓝单车称自己拥有2000万注册用户,投放自行车超过70万辆,除中国外,它还将业务扩展到了旧金山和悉尼。

Bluegogo was among nearly 30 Chinese startups allowing users to rent bikes with smartphones and leave them wherever they like. The company launched in 2016 with more than $90 million dollars in venture funding. At its peak, Bluegogo claimed 20 million registered users, deployed more than 700,000 bikes, and launched operations in San Francisco and Sydney as well as China.

小蓝单车在两个海外城市的扩张尝试均以失败告终。在旧金山,它遇到了来自当地政界人士的巨大阻力,短短四个月后便偃旗息鼓。在悉尼,小蓝单车的做法是向当地共享单车公司Reddy Go提供自行车,但Reddy Go随后中断了和小蓝单车的合作谈判,转而选择了另一家自行车提供商。

Bluegogo’s attempts at global expansion both ended in failure. In San Francisco, the company ran into stiff resistance from local politicians and suspended operations after only four months. In Sydney, Bluegogo supplied bicycles for local bike-sharing venture Reddy Go, but the Australian firm broke off partnership negotiations and dropped Bluegogo in favor of another bike supplier.

不过,小蓝单车在国内的财务问题直到上周才全面爆发——国内社交媒体上出现了对该公司的抱怨之声。用户愤怒地表示已经不能用小蓝单车app给自行车开锁,退还押金的要求也未得到该公司回应。到小蓝单车北京总部采访的国内新闻记者发现这家公司已经人去楼空。媒体消息称,小蓝单车上周三遣散了员工;多位高管证实他们已经离职。多篇报道指出小蓝单车欠下了30万美元(约199万元人民币)的写字楼租金。一家为小蓝单车提供自行车的企业向《环球时报》透露,小蓝单车拖欠的款项超过150万美元(约995万元人民币)。

But the full extent of Bluegogo’s financial difficulties in its home market didn’t emerge until this week, when Chinese social media erupted in complaints about the company. Users fumed that the Bluegogo app no longer unlocks bikes and that the company isn’t responding to requests for refund of their deposits. Chinese media descended on Bluegogo headquarters in Beijing to discover offices locked and abandoned. Chinese press report that the company dismissed staff on Wednesday. multiple senior Bluegogo executives confirmed that they have left the company. According to several reports, Bluegogo owes $300,000 in office rent. A Bluegogo bike supplier told the Global Times the company owes it more than $1.5 million.

上周四晚,小蓝单车首席执行官李刚发表公开信,称另一家国内企业正在收购小蓝单车。他写道:“作为一位CEO,我做错了……曾经我自诩勇敢不怂……”李刚同时否认自己已经出境。

In a public letter released Thursday night, Bluegogo chief executive Li Gang said the company was being acquired by another Chinese firm. “As a CEO, I’ve made mistakes,” Li wrote. “I was filled with arrogance.” He denied reports that he had fled the country.

中国金融投资网报道,今年2月小蓝单车融资4亿元人民币,领投方为如今看来名字颇为应景的北京风投基金黑洞资本,跟投方为智能星通。当时对小蓝单车的估值为10亿元人民币)。

China Money Network reports that Bluegogo raised $58 million in February led by an aptly named Beijing-based venture fund Black Hole Capital, and Smart Xintong, a Shenzhen-based healthcare equipment developer. The investments valued Bluegogo at $140 million.

在小蓝单车之前,几家规模较小的共享单车公司在半年时间里相继倒闭,其中包括悟空单车、3vBike和町町单车。许多分析师预测,这个行业即将出现残酷的整合,最终活下来的只会有一、两家公司。业内两大巨头——腾讯支持的摩拜单车和得到阿里巴巴助力的ofo共享单车——均已融资近10亿美元(约66.35亿元人民币),而且外界普遍认为它们将成为共享单车领域最后的赢家。

Bluegogo’s crack-up follows the collapse of several smaller Chinese bike-sharing companies within the past six months, including Wukong, 3vBike, and Ding Ding. Many analysts predict the industry is headed for a bloody consolidation in which only one or two players survive. The sectors two giants—Mobike, backed by Tencent Holdings, and Ofo, backed by Alibaba Group—have each reached raised roughly $1 billion in funding and are widely tipped as the industry’s final victors.

18个月来,中国共享单车行业一直以令人惊讶的速度发展着,互为对手的公司用橙、黄、蓝等色彩各异的自行车填满了城市的大街小巷。还有很多公司涉足海外市场,进入了波士顿、华盛顿、新加坡和吉隆坡。

Over the past 18 months, China’s bike-sharing industry has rolled out with astonishing speed as rival companies saturate city streets with a riot of orange, yellow and blue cycles. Many have launched operations overseas in locations including Boston, Washington D.C., Singapore and Kuala Lampur.

小蓝单车管理松懈的迹象很明显。今年夏天,小蓝单车app用坦克图标取代了一些自行车图标,如果用户骑了坦克图标代表的自行车,就会获得奖励,此举让小蓝单车的这次推广活动显得颇为怪异。

There were clear signs of lax management at Bluegogo. The company ran in to trouble with a bizarre summer promotional campaign that replaced some of the bike icons on its app with icons for tanks, offering prizes to users who rode bikes depicted by tanks.

在中国共享单车行业,就连管理完善的公司也如同逆水行舟。这个行业的泡沫早已昭然若揭,参与者甚众,支持它们的风投资金太多,它们追逐的利润却太少。行业洗牌在所难免。真正的问题在于,小蓝单车的倒闭是否预示着中国其他互联网相关行业也将出现类似的整合。

But in China’s bikes-sharing sector, even well-managed ventures face an uphill climb. It has long been clear that the sector is a bubble, with far too many players backed by far too much venture funding chasing far too little profit. A shakeout was inevitable. The real question is whether Bluegogo’s collapse portends a similar consolidation in other Chinese Internet sectors.