Why it matters: “Contactless biking” appears to closely resemble normal, full-contact bike riding.
Details: Meituan Bike, formerly Mobike, laid out four golden rules for its no-contact riding program.
- Users are advised to wear a mask and gloves while using Meituan bikes to reduce unnecessary contact with any surface.
- Secondly, users should keep a safe riding distance from others while on the road.
- Meituan encourages users to sanitize the handles, seat, and other parts of its bikes using disinfectant they bring themselves.
- Lastly, users are urged to park bikes in designated areas after use. The company did not specify whether parking in a designated zone could decrease chances of infection.
- Meituan said it has been blasting disinfectant on all bikes, including those belonging to other bike rental companies.
Chinese bike rental firm Meituan Bike announced Thursday a new “contactless biking” initiative, urging riders to don protective gear and bring disinfectant to sanitize bikes for “safe and healthy” rides.
Context: Meituan Dianping is one of many Chinese tech companies feeling the impact of the deadly epidemic which has forced offices and stores to close and factories to idle. The lifestyle service giant’s businesses across the board, including on-demand deliveries and hotel and travel bookings, are hurting. Its bike rental operation already suffers from hefty losses and cash flow problems.
- As the virus spreads through close contact ranging from three to six feet, netizens are now wary of physical contact as well as exposure to the virus in public places.
- Although the epicenter of the outbreak is located in Hubei province, most cities in China are on high alert. Normally busy commercial areas and streets are left mostly empty.
- The company has rolled out a series of measures in an effort to assure users while using its services. For example, the company has been promoting its new contactless food delivery across the country.
- Meituan was said to be among the 300 Chinese companies seeking bank loans totaling at least RMB 57.4 billion ($8.2 billion) to help battle with the Covid-19 outbreak, Reuters reported earlier this week. The company is reportedly looking to borrow RMB 4 billion to, in part, finance its philanthropic efforts in Wuhan.