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China’s oldest bike brand to fire first shot in bike-sharing battle

By Tian Shi (People's Daily Online)    08:15, December 24, 2016

China’s thriving bike-lending industry is about to greet its oldest competitor. The 76-year-old Shanghai bicycle-maker Forever has announced its forthcoming cooperation with U Bike, a newly formed bike-sharing company. The two will launch a station-free bicycle rental service in multiple Chinese cities, with Shanghai set as their first target in 2017. The number of bikes they release in a year is expected to be between 100,000 and 200,000.

Established in 1940, the once-ubiquitous Forever brand has been in the business of public bike rental for eight years. As early as 2008, Forever undertook a public bike-sharing project in cooperation with the Shanghai government, distributing about 80,000 bikes around Shanghai. Now, entering the new rental market, Forever will upgrade its bicycles, installing smart locks and doing away with the appointment cards previously needed to borrow bikes.

Indeed, the streets of China’s biggest cities are increasingly flooded with public bikes.

“Shanghai alone has 150,000 to 200,000 sharing bikes,” said Yu Yi, founder of U Bike, in an interview with Thepaper.cn. “But compared with user demand, this market is far from saturated.” 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Zhang Tianrui, Bianji)

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