In the latest in a series of discouraging shared economy developments, car-rental app Togo appears to have been taken down from Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi’s app store. As of Thursday afternoon, the app could still be downloaded from Apple’s China App Store as well as Tencent’s Android app store.

A customer service staff member told TechNode that the company’s public WeChat account will update users once the app is online again.

According to a report by Jinwan Magazine (in Chinese), users also reported being unable to use the apps on their phones. When TechNode reporters downloaded it, they were unable to detect any available cars in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, or Shenzhen, four major cities in which Togo operates.

During a recent search for nearby vehicles in Togo-supported cities, an error message appeared repeatedly. (Image credit: Togo)

Last December, Chinese state outlet CCTV reported that Togo users were lining up outside the company’s Beijing headquarters to join a reportedly months-long waiting list for deposit returns. At the time, one user told reporters that he expected to receive his RMB 1,500 (around $225) deposit in May 2019.

In recent months, Togo has also faced several suits on the basis of property preservation. On Dec. 24 last year, for instance, a Beijing court ruled in favor of a local car rental business, freezing over RMB 930,000 of Togo’s assets. In another judgment passed down on Dec. 18, a Shenzhen car rental company won the right to freeze more than RMB240,000 of the Beijing company’s property.

On Tuesday, China’s Ministry of Transport released a draft rule that would outline how rental companies deal with user deposits and set punitive measures for non-compliant companies. The regulation, which will open for public review on April 3, reflects concerns over the cash crunch faced by rental companies such as Togo or bike startup Ofo, which have together jeopardized millions of user deposits.

Bailey Hu is based in China’s hardware capital, Shenzhen. Her interests include local maker culture, grassroots innovation and how tech shapes society, as well as vice versa.

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.