Gobee.bike to cease operations due to ‘financial situation’
Closure of Hong Kong operations follows failures earlier this year in eight European cities
Hong Kong-based dockless cycle provider Gobee.bike announced its closure to users on Tuesday morning after soaring bicycle repair costs thwarted efforts to generate profits. Gobee launched operations in April of 2017.
Founded by Frenchman Raphaël Cohen, who also created Foodpanda Vietnam and HotelQuickly, the company had 7,000 bicycles in Hong Kong as of last November. Users who paid a HK$399 (US$51) deposit could ride Gobee bicycles for HK$5 (63.7 US cents) per half hour. The service was concentrated in the New Territories.
“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,” the company said in an email to its users.
The company will accept no new payments from Tuesday, though existing users may continue to use its bicycles until July 17. After that, they will be locked. Users can request a refund of their deposit within a month, the company said.
Last October, Gobee.bike launched services in eight European cities only to see 60% of its bicycles destroyed, stolen or privatized within four months. In February, it ceased European operations.
Bicycle-sharing companies are facing huge maintenance costs due to the large numbers of bicycles being vandalized or otherwise damaged. Last month, some Hong Kong Gobee.bike users complained on social media that they failed to unlock most of the bicycles and suspected that the company was in financial difficulty.
Other key cycle service providers in Hong Kong include HobaBike, LocoBike and ofo.