Gobee.bike, we hardly knew ye: Bike-sharing firm calls it quits in Hong Kong

Screengrab via Gobee Bike.

It’s game over for bike-sharing company Gobee.bike in Hong Kong.

The company, which was launched with much fanfare in April 2017, will be no more as of July 17. The company’s CEO Raphael Cohen announced the news in a statement on Facebook today.

“Our decision is purely due to our financial situation,” he wrote.

“After over a year in service, we unfortunately have not been able to make the service profitable, and the financial costs of maintaining the bikes in their best condition has proven to be too high for us to sustain the business.”

Gobee.bike, which billed itself as Hong Kong’s first station-less bike-sharing service, allowed people to rent and drop off bikes around the city by scanning a QR code. It maintained a fleet of about 7,000 bikes as of November last year, according to Ming Pao, making it one of the city’s major bike-sharing players.

The company is no longer accepting new deposits, and existing customers can submit refund requests for ones already made over the next month.

The end of Gobee.bike’s operations in the city where it’s headquartered demonstrates just how hard a time bike-sharing companies have had fighting, well, shitty human behavior.

The service quickly raised US$9 million in venture capital after debuting. But the company has been plagued by maintenance problems, due to people throwing bikes into rivers, and otherwise abandoningstealing and illegally parking them.

The company also had to pull out of Brussels, the French cities of Lille and Reims and Rome earlier this year over vandalism.

Gobee.bike’s departure from Hong Kong comes hot on the heels of a similar shutdown for embattled oBike in Singapore, where complaints have been fast and thick amid claims that deposits were not being returned in a timely fashion.

 

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