China’s ride-sharing giant Didi Chuxing is expanding into the bubble-prone bike-sharing sector, the company said on last Tuesday.


Didi also confirmed that it will partly take over the running of failed bike-sharing company Bluegogo’s services, allowing Didi users to use Bluegogo’s bikes.


China’s Bluegogo, which collapsed last November, is not the first dockless bike-sharing service to fail. More than 50 years ago, Amsterdam’s Witte Fietsen - or White Bikes service - closed in a matter of days after people threw the free, unlocked, white bikes into canals and rivers, or stole them.

去年11月,中国的小蓝单车(Bluegogo)倒闭,它并非首个倒闭的无桩单车共享服务。50多年前,阿姆斯特丹的“白色单车”(Witte Fietsen)推出没多少天就关闭了,因为有些人将这种免费、没有上锁的白色自行车扔进沟渠和河里,还有人偷窃单车。

Consumers have forked out almost Rmb1bn ($150m) in deposits for shared bikes to groups that have since gone bust, according to a report from Ant Financial, the fintech affiliate of Alibaba, the tech company.

科技公司阿里巴巴(Alibaba)的金融科技关联公司蚂蚁金服(Ant Financial)的一份报告显示,消费者向现已倒闭的共享单车企业支付了近10亿元人民币(合1.5亿美元)押金。

The figure may underestimate consumers’ exposure. The China Consumers Association, a state-run advocacy, issued a public letter in December demanding Kuqi return deposits of about $45 to each of its 16m registered users - if all users were unpaid that would add up to $720m.


The association said it had also received 210,000 complaints from users of the failed Kuqi, after the company listed a nonexistent address for users looking to reclaim their deposits.


After acquiring Uber’s China arm in 2016, Didi has kept almost-total control of ride-hailing in China and is now expanding into other countries as well as other sectors. The company acquired ride-hailing app 99 last week, the major challenger to Uber in Brazil.


Didi announced it would soon launch a “comprehensive bike-sharing platform” within its app. The platform will integrate the services of Ofo - which Didi has a significant stake in - as well as Bluegogo, other potential partners, and “DiDi’s upcoming own-branded bike-sharing service,” the company revealed.