Episode 29 On-Demand Bicycles in China (CHI)

It's 2017.

We are back after the long break. This is a special episode, because we recorded twice, one in Chinese and the other in English. It was accidental. We usually spend 10 to 20 minutes running through the key points before the actual recording, so we talk in Chinese and put down some show notes to discuss later. But this time, while we talked about on-demand bicycle startups in China, we just went along. Though we recorded later in English, following loosely the previous structure, we felt the first run has a better flow than the second version. Yet, we think it's important to let non-Chinese speakers understand the craziness and innovation in this business.

So here we are, with two new episodes for the new year!

Chinese Version

Here are the questions we discussed from the very beginning, roughly in this order.

00:00
Why does the on-demand bicycle business bloom in China at this point?
How does the government react to this new business?
How did they receive five rounds of investment in one year and why did they need that much money from very early on?
What's the biggest innovation of these bikes?
How do these bikes work? How much do they charge?

11:00
What's the difference between the two main competitors, ofo and Mobike?
How do they maintain the bikes on the street?
What are the main differences from a user experience's standpoint?
What are the main use cases for these on-demand bikes?

17:00
Technical broken down. The screen was frozen for a while and you can hear it here.
Have they made profit yet? What is the business model in the long run?
How accurate is the GPS on bikes?

25:00
It was called bike sharing sometimes, but we think it doesn't belong to sharing economy.

27:00
Defining the three terms, sharing economy, O2O and on-demand.
What might be their next step?
What are the oversea markets they are expanding to?

37:00
We tried to do the calculation of how many bikes are needed around some of the busiest metro stations in Beijing.