f you ever wonder why China’s shared bike industry did not live up to early promises of success, look no farther than a court case in Guangdong province.
On Wednesday, a man, surnamed Huang, was sentenced by a court in Guangzhou to three and a half years in prison and ordered to pay 200,000 yuan ($29,000) in compensation for stealing more than 1,000 shared bicycles.
Huang was arrested following a report received by Mobike of a large number of shared bike parts found at a recycling plant in the city of Qingyuan. This lead led police to Huang’s door in Guangzhou.
Theft has always been a concern with China’s dockless shared bikes. In the heady days of 2017, one bike-sharing startup went out of business in just six months after the 90 percent of the company’s fleet of bicycles went missing.
In a perhaps shortsighted move, the bikes had not been equipped with GPS.