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Wheels come off bike-sharing firm

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-06-24 08:51

CHONGQING-A bike-sharing startup has gone bust after less than five months, despite being named after Wukong, the omnipotent Monkey King, in the Chinese classic Journey to the West.

Last week, Chongqing Zhanguo Technology Ltd, Wukong Bicycle's operator, announced on the company's Sina Weibo account that it had retrieved its bikes from the streets.

It will now refund cash advances to users within the next 30 days.

Wukong Bicycle is thought to be the first bike-sharing operation to go bankrupt in China.

Calls to founder Lei Houyi went unanswered, but he was quoted in the media as saying he had lost more than 1 million yuan ($146,000).

One of the reasons his firm failed was because it was unable to secure a quality bike supplier.

Lei, 26, once worked as security guard in Peking University. The native of Chongqing was inspired by Mobike and Ofo Inc's business model to establish his own bike-sharing firm.

Wukong rolled out its services on Jan 7, putting around 1,200 bikes across Chongqing, half of which were in college campuses.

Around 90 percent of their bikes are now nowhere to be found because they are only fitted with mechanical locks and are easily stolen.

Chongqing is a hilly city, and colleges are the major market for bike-sharing companies.

A large number of orange Mobikes and yellow Ofos, the two companies which dominate the Chinese market, could be seen there.

"Mobikes have better quality but Ofo is cheaper," said He Xia, a student at the Chongqing University.

Wukong Bicycle's collapse occurred just days before Mobike announced it had raised more than $600 million to finance overseas expansion.

As people seek to make their lives easier and save resources, sharing has become popular in China.

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