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Hong Kong's first bike-sharing startup to end services this week

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Image: GoBee

GoBee.bike, the first local bike-sharing firm in Hong Kong, has announced it will cease its operations in the city on July 18, only one year and three months after the services were firstly launched.

The Hong Kong startup said the decision was made due to its financial situation and being unable to profit from services, as costs of maintaining the bikes were too high while business grew slowly.

Unlike bike-sharing giants in mainland China such as Mobike and Ofo, which demand only about 1 yuan (15 cents) for an hour-long ride, using GoBee’s services in Hong Kong costs as much as HK$10 ($1.2) for 60-minute ride, plus HK$399 in deposits.

The local firm has promised to refund HK$399 in deposits to each user, but any remaining value in their accounts is not refundable, according to media reports.

GoBee, which firstly put about 1,000 shared bikes into action in April 2017, planned to increase the offerings to as many as 300,000 bikes by the end of last year, covering the majority of the city’s territories.

The Hong Kong firm, also facing competition from a few other bike-sharing operators including Ofo, announced plans to secure $9 million in funds in August last year. GoBee said it would use the money to beef up its technology strengths, as well as R&D investments, adding that it was also planning to expand its services to overseas markets.

In February, GoBee ended its operations in France and Italy.

Experts believe a number of reasons have stymied the growth of bike-sharing firms, such as the extremely developed public transportation in the city, including metros and buses, which do not cause “last mile” issues that bike-share firms aimed to solve.

Also, Hong Kong is known for mountain roads, and public roads normally do not have a lane for bike riders, said experts, who added that parking bikes could also be a headache for the bike-sharing companies and users due to packed streets, according to Chinese reports.

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