Following its introduction in Hong Kong in April, bike-sharing service GoBee.Bike has been confronted with alleged criminal damage and security loopholes of its mobile application that may leak private details.
Nevertheless, manager Eunice Lee said the bike-sharing service brings convenience to city dwellers.
The startup has attracted an initial round of financing of about HK$70 million.
Lee said she used to ride a bicycle when commuting overseas but due to space limitation, she has not owned a bike since her return to Hong Kong.
She does not have to worry about bicycles being stolen or damaged, and can save maintenance cost, if she opts for the bike-sharing service.
According to Lee, traditional bicycle rental stores can only serve customers during daytime. However, time and geographical constraints are much less in the case of bicycle-sharing service, which is capable of reaching a wider client base and higher usage frequency.
Lee cited an example of a bicycle that was rented more than 20 times in one day. Hongkongers often enjoy renting a bike at night.
GoBee.Bike focuses on the New Territories. Lee said that compared with traditional rental bike stores, the company has to bear maintenance costs since its bikes are exposed outdoors. The startup does not rent its own premises.
Lee said bike-sharing in Hong Kong is not as popular as it is in China. Nonetheless, GoBee.Bike will try to expand beyond the New Territories to Kowloon and Hong Kong Island as well, although the lack of related facilities means the target won’t be achievable in the near term.
The company is liaising with bicycle groups, as well as government departments, for instance, in analyzing traffic data of bicycle use and discussing with the authorities how to improve the needed facilities.
Shortage of services
Francis Fong, honorary president of the Hong Kong Information Technology Federation, said vehicle and bicycle sharing is emerging because there is a shortage of such services.
Fong criticized Hong Kong’s outdated laws and the government for adopting an old mindset when handling new economy issues.
He urged the government to boost communication with the private sector and balance interests of different parties when formulating related policies.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Aug. 22
Translation by Jonathan Chong
[Chinese version 中文版]
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