Beijing authorities recently ordered a halt to electric bicycle-sharing service E-zebra (in Chinese), citing safety and legitimacy concerns. In addition, users of the service were first notified yesterday (March 7, 2017) and then again today about an interruption in service due to maintenance.  Customer service representatives have not able to confirm when the service will be back up.

This is not the first electric bicycle company to catch the attention of the Beijing authorities. According to local regulations, electric bicycles without license plates should not be allowed on road. In addition, the E-zebra-branded electric bicycle travels at 35 kph, much faster than the maximum allowed speed of 20 kph.

Dianbanma, the startup behind the E-zebra electric bicycles, was founded in 2015. After making a hefty investment in the electric bicycle startup in December of the same year, the country’s largest two-wheeled electric vehicle maker Yadea purchased a majority stake in the startup and now provides customized e-bike making service to it.

With the app installed on their phone, users can rent the electric bicycle for RMB 8 per hour plus  RMB 1 per ride, with no deposit required.

With around 700 electric bicycles (in Chinese) already available in Beijing, E-zebra plans to put into use an additional 2,000 ones in the city by the end of this year.

Riding the momentum of the bike-rental boom in China, electric bicycle firms are itching to get their hands on the lucrative rental transport market.

In addition to E-zebra, a swath of electric bicycle services began to mushroom in major Chinese cities, such as Liabar (“猎吧” in Chinese), Zeebike  (“租八戒” in Chinese), Xiao Lu Dan Che (“小鹿单车” in Chinese) and BeeFly (“小黄蜂” in Chinese), intensifying the already fierce competition in the bike-sharing market, where major player OFO and Mobike are locked in a tight battle for market supremacy.

Sheila Yu

Sheila Yu is a Shanghai-based technology writer. She brings readers the biggest news from Chinese language tech media. Reach her at sheila@technode.com.