In a country where nearly 90% of the population lives on less than $1.25 a day, it can be difficult to make ends meet on a bicycle.
For a bike shop in Shenzhen, though, there’s a catch: bicycles can only be sold at a price higher than what the owner pays in cash for them.
Bike shop owner Zhang Yanhua is proud of his bike store’s low prices, but he admits that there’s one catch: it has to be built by a Chinese company.
The store in the heart of the Chinese city of Shenzhen has been selling its bike parts for about six months, but Zhang said the cost of building it had exceeded $1 million, a figure he believes is too high.
“We need to make it affordable for everyone,” he said.
Zhang is one of several owners in the city, but many are facing a similar dilemma.
As China gears up for a nationwide “Green Week,” which starts on October 16, a shortage of bicycles is a looming threat to the country’s burgeoning bike industry.
A Chinese company has come up with a solution: It has launched a bicycle-sharing service, BikeShare, that will allow anyone to rent a bike and ride around Shenzhen with no deposit.
This service, like many of China’s other bike-sharing services, will not have a fixed price.
Unlike traditional bike rentals, Bike Share will let you pay for your own bike in advance.
But like most other bike sharing services, it will be available only in the Chinese capital.
With a bike share service like this, Zhang said, the cost would drop.
To get a glimpse of the bike shop’s interior, we took a tour of the shop on October 17.
We met Zhang Yanhaue, a 32-year-old Chinese-American man who owns the store with his wife and two young children.
When I met him, he told me the price of the parts was “very high” but that he was hoping to raise it by about $20,000, which is about $30 per month.
He also explained that he would like to open a bicycle store in Beijing and had plans to buy more bikes from other companies.
That would help his business, Zhang told me.
But when we spoke a few months ago, he said he was still struggling to make the $2,500 that he needs to rent the shop.
And as I asked him how much he was willing to pay for a bicycle, he replied: “I need to find a good partner.”
We talked about his business for several minutes, but the answer he gave me was not easy to understand.
His company is not a traditional bicycle rental company, which he describes as a “big-name company” that rents bikes to other companies, which then sell the bikes.
Instead, Zhang and his business partner, a 30-year old Chinese-U.S. citizen, rent bicycles for themselves and sell them to other customers.
So what is the difference between the traditional bicycle-rental companies and the new BikeShare?
The bike rental companies are usually a few years old, and they usually sell a limited number of bikes at a time, and their bikes often come with extra equipment that helps to speed up the journey, like a front wheel with a chain-stays, wheels with extra wheels and tires, and so on.
However, the BikeShare service is a much bigger company, and Zhang says it is a “new company with new owners.”
Bicycle rental companies usually charge between $1,000 and $3,000 per bike for rentals, which may be enough to rent one bike for a week, Zhang says.
While most bike rental services will let users pay a monthly fee for a bike, BikeShanghai, a Beijing-based company that specializes in rental bicycles, charges users a fixed monthly fee of between $30 and $50.
In other words, users of the BikeShans have to pay more money to rent their own bikes.
If a user doesn’t like the way the service is working out for them, they can cancel their account with a 30 day grace period and send their money back to the company.
For Zhang Yanhao, a regular user of the service, the decision to cancel his account was a difficult one.
Since he’s a frequent user, he wanted to cancel it as soon as possible, but because he was a regular customer, the company wasn’t able to make a decision.
What is BikeShare’s mission?
Zhang said he would have liked to see a bike-rentaling service like BikeShare in Beijing, but due to the shortage of bikes, he needed a new company to rent bikes in Shenzen.
I asked him if he thought he’d be able to