It is almost two years since Mobike co-founder Hu Weiwei put around 50 bicycles on the streets of Shanghai and drove away. Ofo had a similar beginning, spreading out shared bikes on Beijing’s university campuses. This is how China’s dockless bike rental economy was born—from moves that could easily be branded as crazy.

Today, bikes are so bountiful that they are literally blocking the streets of Chinese cities. Although both companies have been hesitant to release numbers, the latest iResearch’s data (in Chinese) show that Mobike has 8.65 million daily active users while for ofo that number climbs to 9.65 million. During 2017, Mobike has raised $1 billion and Ofo $1.15 billion, according to their own data.

The meteoric rise of the bike rental market has drawn much attention, not just for its disruptive business model, but also because it is one of the first tech trends coming from China that has swept the entire world.

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Masha Borak

Masha Borak is a technology reporter based in Beijing. Write to her at masha.borak [at] technode.com. Pitches with the word "disruptive" will be ignored. Read a good book - learn some more adjectives.