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黑龙江快乐10分走势图: Sharing economy shifts gears

By Fan Feifei | China Daily | Updated: 2018-11-14 11:03
Women ride bicycles of bike-sharing startup HelloChuxing in Shenyang, Liaoning province. The brand is mostly seen in smaller cities in China. [Photo/VCG]

今天黑龙江福彩22选5 www.fawqa.com Rampant competition forcing companies to stay ahead with superior services, products

Competition in China's booming sharing economy market is set to intensify further, as companies step up efforts to retain customers and market share with superior products and services, said industry insiders.

The market, which has been a roller coaster of boom and bust, has more or less stabilized and is now witnessing a phase of steady growth, they said.

Bike-sharing startup Hellobike, now rebranded as Hello-Chuxing, was the first off the block when it launched a new cab-hailing function for its mobile app users last month, as it stepped up its competition with ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing. The company said the new services would be available in 81 cities across the nation, including Beijing, Shanghai and Hangzhou in Zhejiang province.

Unlike other bike-sharing giants like Ofo Inc and Beijing Mobike Technology Co Ltd that focus on bigger and key cities and overseas expansion, HelloChuxing has a greater presence in second and third-tier cities in China, where it has gained more than 200 million registered users in less than three years.

The Shanghai-based company has a presence in more than 300 cities across the country, with its daily orders surpassing 20 million. It was also among the first to waive deposits for bike users with a good credit record.

The company has also partnered with ride-hailing providers Shouqi Limousine & Chauffeur, Dida Chuxing and digital mapmaker AutoNavi Software, but did not disclose further details on the agreements.

"We have been focusing on how to better serve our clients and satisfy their commuting needs, in an effort to create a highly-efficient, convenient and friendly transportation environment for the public," said Yang Lei, CEO of HelloChuxing.

HelloChuxing has racked up about half of the users in second and third-tier cities, according to data-monitoring firm Trustdata. About 70 percent of China's bike-sharing users are from second and lower-tier cities, while those in first-tier cities account for 28 percent of that market.

Ant Financial Services Group, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd's financial unit, has invested 2.06 billion yuan ($296 million) in HelloChuxing, giving the latter a unicorn valuation of $1.47 billion.

HelloChuxing has also teamed up with Shanghai Shentong Metro Group Co Ltd to develop a smart technology, to improve subway-to-bicycle transfers for commuters at railway stations.

Chen Xiaodong, chief financial officer of the company, said with only two major bike-sharing players in China - Ofo and Mobike - they still see a lot of space for them to provide better services and be more efficient in the industry.

The bike-sharing hype has also caught the attention of investors, who have poured hundreds of millions of dollars into the major startups.

Earlier this year, Ofo raised $866 million in a funding round led by tech giant Alibaba. Its competitor Mobike was acquired by China's largest provider of on-demand online services Meituan-Dianping in April, squashing expectations of a merger with Ofo. Meanwhile, Chinese ride-hailing leader Didi Chuxing launched its own bike-sharing service in January

A visitor sits at Didi Chuxing's booth during an internet expo in Beijing. [Photo/Agencies]

Data from global consulting firm Roland Berger estimates that the global market for bike sharing could reach $6.1 billion by 2020. Although China's bike-sharing market has grown rapidly over the past few years, as part of a booming digital economy, it will encounter challenges and bottlenecks this year, experts said.

Vandalism and low rates of usage have forced some Chinese companies to withdraw from some overseas markets. Mobike is considering pulling out of Manchester in the United Kingdom, while its arch rival Ofo has canceled services in other British cities, including Norwich, Sheffield and Leeds.

Ofo has said that it will pull out of several countries entirely, including Australia, Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, India and Israel, as part of its efforts to focus on promising markets.

In addition, less than a year after launching in the United States, Ofo said it was laying off staff across the country and pulling out of several cities.

The number of shared bikes in Beijing has dropped by about 20 percent from a peak period last year, according to the Beijing Municipal Commission of Transport. Currently, Beijing has 1.91 million bikes, down one-fifth from a peak of 2.35 million in September last year.

No new bikes will be allowed on the street. Companies will be required to take damaged or idle bikes off the street regularly, the commission said.

Zhao Xiang, an analyst at Beijing-based internet consultancy Analysys, said the bike-sharing industry has entered a new stage of integration, and Mobike and Ofo need to expand their business in an orderly way, as well as improve the way of operating bikes and explore more monetization models.

The country's bike-sharing industry experienced exponential growth in 2017, with the growth rate surging to 632.1 percent, according to market consultancy iiMedia Research. However, that figure is estimated to drop significantly to 14.6 percent this year.

The consultancy also said monthly active Ofo users reached 29.38 million in May, while the figures for Mobike and HelloChuxing amounted to 25.27 million and 5.29 million, respectively.

In addition to bike-sharing, the sharing economy concept has stretched to homes. Chinese consumers have started to pursue high-quality travel and accommodation experiences, which has spurred the explosive growth of home-sharing service providers, such as Airbnb Inc, Tujia.com, Xiaozhu Inc and Zhubaijia.com.

China's home-sharing market is surging, thanks to the fast-growing middle and high-income group, and the increasing popularity of homestays as a novel form of accommodation. Market transaction volume surged 70.6 percent year-on-year to stand at about 14.5 billion yuan last year, and the figure is expected to reach 50 billion yuan in 2020, according to a report by the State Information Center, a government think tank.

In October, home-stay online booking platform Xiaozhu - often dubbed China's answer to Airbnb - announced it has secured around $300 million in its latest round of financing.

The capital will be invested in global network expansion and the development of a smart home internet of things system, according to Chen Chi, co-founder and CEO of the company.

The startup will leverage the home-sharing platform to build an expansive coordination network, allowing more people to benefit from the booming sharing economy, according to Chen.

It also offers value-added services, ranging from housekeeping to house interior photography, so as to improve the look and feel of properties for would-be renters.

In May, Xiaozhu and fintech giant Ant Financial Services Group together promoted facial recognition technology for smart door locks in 40 cities nationwide. In November 2017, the startup closed a $120 million round of financing led by Yunfeng Capital, making it a unicorn in the industry.

Tujia, another Chinese accommodation sharing and booking website, raised $300 million in its series E round of fundraising in October 2017, and is backed by online travel booking platform Ctrip.

"The authorities should increase efforts to formulate standards for the emerging market and implement detailed safety rules, in cooperation with sharing accommodation providers. That kind of approach will help the healthy and orderly development of online short-term rental services," said Lai Zhen, an analyst at market research firm iResearch.

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