A child rides past bicycles from bike-sharing companies parked along a sidewalk in Beijing. Photo: Andy Wong / AP
Mingbike, a Chinese bike-share company, appears to have shut down. Some laid-off employees have complained via social media that they haven't been paid in months, while users have been unable to receive deposit refunds.
Why it matters: Because this is the third Chinese dockless bike-share startup to go bust in recent months, following Bluegogo and Coolqi.
- More: Bluegogo is the largest such failure, having raised $90 million in venture funding — including from a firm actually called Black Hole Capital... how was that not a red flag? — and rolling out 600,000 bikes. One contributing factor seems to have been a June app modification (unclear if poorly-conceived ad campaign or a hack) that changed Bluegogo bike icons to tank icons. The result in Beijing was that it looked like tanks were rolling toward Tiananmen Square.
- Bottom line: "China's bike-sharing market, overcrowded with more than 40 platforms, have attracted US$2 billion in funding over the last 18 months, making it one of the most popular industries for private equity, venture capitalists and angel investors." — Sarah Dai, South China Morning Post