Didi Chuxing last year beat the car-sharing business model’s pioneer Uber Technologies at its own game, and bought out the New York company’s China business to become the dominant app for hailing taxis or sharing a ride in the world’s most populous country.
Less than a year on, Didi’s dominance is being challenged by an unlikely source — about 40 smartphone apps that have sprouted in major Chinese cities since late 2016 for commuters to share bicycles.
Yes, bicycles. The two-wheel conveyance has become the most popular means of last-mile transportation from subway stations and bus terminals to final destinations. Users can pick them up anywhere, leave them anywhere, often for as little as 1 yuan per hour, sometimes for free, and occasionally — depending on promotions — receive cash prizes.
The change in transportation means monthly savings of 500 yuan (US$73), about 5 per cent of the salary of Freddie Tian, who works at an office in Futian district […]