Bluegogo is the Latest Company to Join Bicycle-Sharing Game in China
Bicycles have been iconic in China for a long time, and there are new companies that are working hard to ensure that bicycles remain synonymous with China for additional years. Years back, Xiaomi backed Ofo and Tencent-backed Mobikehave been battling for China’s bicycle sharing supremacy. This has resulted to thousands of bicycles being dumped onto the city streets of China.
Bluegogo is the Third Company to Join the Battle
Compared with the other 600 bicycle sharing providers witnessed by the world, these Chinese companies are making them appear somehow primitive. Currently, in the streets of China, you are likely to come across a designated station full of bicycles. At the station, you are in a position to swipe your credit card and pick the bicycle of your choice and ride through the city. It gets even better, once you are done, you don’t have to take it back to the station you picked it, but you can park it at any station near you.
However, Bluegogo together with Ofo and Mobike are stationless. Their bikes are situated at random locations throughout the streets of China, but since they are GPS connected, it is possible to easily locate them using the Bluegogo app. Once you have found one, you are required to unlock it using the available QR code, and you are set to go. Once done, you are allowed to pack the bicycle anywhere. The best part about these bicycles is that everything is performed through the Bluegogo app. This includes locking, unlocking, locating and paying for the bikes. Moreover, the app is in a position to track your stats including calories burned and distance traveled.
Bluegogo, which has its headquarters in Beijing, is only a month or so old and it already has approximately 70,000 bicycles on three cities streets including Shenzhen, which has 35,000 bikes, 25,000 in Guangzhou and approximately 10,000 bikes in Chengdu. Since Bluegogo is the latest startup to join the bicycle-sharing game, it needs to be a little more aggressive.
According to a 28-year old and the Bluegogo founder Tony Li, his company produces approximately 10,000 bicycles per day. It majorly depends on its manufacturing plant although it also receives assistance from partnerships with other factories. Since the company has a great manufacturing power, Li believes that Bluegogo is now in a position to effectively compete with previously established companies, the likes of Mobike and Ofo, which have approximately 40,000 and 70,000 bicycles in China respectively. This does not imply that the other companies are just resting and watch Bluegogo take over. For instance, Mobike is expected to launch in Singapore early next year and is set to reach approximately 100,000 bicycles before this year ends.
Users who have tried the three different bicycles have confirmed that Bluegogo bicycles offer a better experience although this could be due to the fact that they are newer. Additionally, users have reported that Bluegogo’s bicycles have more comfortable seats as opposed to other bikes. According to Hufei Yu, Bluegogo’s vice president of operations, the company designed it bikes’ seats to be comfortable and have the feeling of a woman’s breasts. Although the bike seats seem odd, they are well built and simply the best.
They have PU polymer tires, which are airless; the bikes cannot get punctured. Moreover, the bikes have aluminum frames, and this means that they cannot rust. They also include a solar panel that is meant to power the lights and the lock. Mobike needs an initial deposit of approximately $44 and charges up-to 15 cents after every half an hour. Contrary, Bluegogo only needs an initial deposit of about $14 and charges 8 cents per half an hour.
Although Ofo bikes are similarly priced as Bluegogo’s, most users don’t like them. This might be because it is not possible to adjust the height of the seats and the locking mechanism needs users to input app generated codes manually to unlock. This has subjected the bicycles to vandalism where users have been seen scratching off the bikes’ QR codes making the bicycles unusable.
Although one dollar per day might sound not expensive, but if you multiply that by thousands of bicycles that are likely to be used per day and the number becomes hundreds of millions. In four years, the company is expected to have made a lot of money.
Neither Yu nor Li has revealed the actual cost of manufacturing each bicycle. The only information revealed by the two is that each bike requires less than 2,000 RMB to be fully functional. However, Yu has revealed that on average, each bicycle brings revenue of about 8 RMB, which is equivalent to $1 per day.
The new Bluegogo bikes are comfortable and better than those provided by its competitors. Additionally, the company has a bicycle app that is capable of tracking the distance traveled as well as the amount of calories burnt.