Failures and opportunities: A pivotal moment for China’s mobility industry

6 min read

Last year was a rough one for the rental economy and mobility industries in China. With long lines of disgruntled customers outside Ofo’s Beijing office looking for refunds, sexual and physical assaults inside Didi’s cars, and the veil pulled away from Mobike’s numbers, 2018 saw the rubber hit the proverbial road.

No longer could marketers, PR armies, and executives continue to paint rosy pictures about the future of private transportation in China’s cities. For anyone on the ground, many of the claims had already inspired a mix of awe, confusion, and incredulity. If 2018 marked a breakdown in the industry, then 2019 is the year in which we’ll see if their attempts at repair will actually work.

A short ride down memory lane

Both Ofo and Mobike have been around for some time, but it wasn’t until the ride-hailing war was resolved that the industry was able to pick up speed.

Before 2012—when Didi and Kuaidi were both founded—getting around in a Chinese city was not easy. The intrepid intracit

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