Despite what you may have heard, bike rental is not dead.

The great Chinese bike sharing bubble popped a long time ago. Like a horde of syphilitic conquistadors, some 80 startups (including two unicorns) charged into the jungle in search of a city of bike-share gold, challenging the dominance of the car and bringing mobs of bikes back to China’s major cities. Few ever emerged, and those that did are mostly known by new names.

They got greedy, fighting price wars and spending user deposits on operations, and it brought them down. Ofo, of the yellow bikes, collapsed in a blaze of lost deposits, with CEO Dai Wei placed on a consumption blacklist that prevented him from traveling by train or buying cars. The next two players, Mobike (in orange) and Bluegogo (blue), exited with sales to tech giants Meituan and Didi Chuxing. 

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Chris Udemans

Christopher Udemans is a Shanghai-based data and graphics reporter. He covers Chinese artificial intelligence, mobility, and cybersecurity. You can contact him at chrisudemans [at] technode [dot] com.