English 中文网 漫画网 爱新闻iNews 翻译论坛
当前位置: Language Tips> 天天读报> 每日播报

Bicycle rental plan falls flat

[ 2009-10-23 13:20]     字号 [] [] []  
免费订阅30天China Daily双语新闻手机报:移动用户编辑短信CD至106580009009


Bicycle rental companies in Beijing are going broke because nobody wants to hire their services. Major rental operators have invested about 100 million yuan ($14.7 million) in almost 20,000 bicycles but are now struggling to survive.

"The company's turnover was almost zero last month," a spokesman from the Bird of Freedom Bicycle Rental said.

He said the company had already sold most of the 400 bicycles. "This is a difficult business, especially in winter. The cold weather almost killed the business," he said.

Bigger rental companies are also facing challenges. Beijing Bicycle Rental Co Ltd is feeling the pinch. It owns 8,000 bicycles and has invested more than 30 million yuan over the past year.

Wang Yong, chairman of the group, said his company had not turned a profit since it began in 2005.

"Bike renting is much more like a public cause," said Wang, who also operates a restaurant chain.

Wang Wenkun, who is stationed at a bicycle rental outlet in Dingfuzhuang, near the East Fifth Ring Road, said not one single customer had rented one of his 15 bikes during the past five months. All the bikes were now rusty and chained together.

"Even thieves will not come for these bikes, because they are so old," he said.

Wang said cycling in a small city may be a good choice, but in a big city like Beijing sometimes riding is "mission impossible".

"It takes one and a half hours to ride to Houhai while it only takes 30 minutes by bus," he said.

Almost all bicycle rental companies in Beijing require deposits of 300 to 400 yuan and then customers need to pay 10 yuan or more per hour.

"I don't want to pay 400 yuan to rent a bike, even if the money is only for deposit," said Zhang Yu, a student in Communication University of China. Zhang said he does not own a bike and often takes motorized rickshaws.

"If renting for one day will cost 20 yuan and I rent a bike for five days, I can use the money to buy a new one."

Although facing economic ruin, some enterprises still hope that conditions will improve. IbikeMedia, one of the biggest bicycle rental companies in China, also invested tens of millions of yuan in Beijing and has more than 10,000 bicycles.

Li Weiwei, general manager of IbikeMedia Beijing, said his company had a no deposit and no payment policy. He said the company tried to make profits by putting display advertisements on the bicycles, but had yet to make a profit because of its small scale. However, customers must pay 20 yuan per card and also show proof of good personal credit.

In early July, the Beijing municipal government announced plans to develop a 50,000-bicycle rental operation across the city.

"The bigger network we have, the more citizens will rent bikes," Li said. "This will make rental easier to citizens and we strongly need help from the government."

(英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Bicycle rental plan falls flat

About the broadcaster:

Bicycle rental plan falls flat

Nancy Matos is a foreign expert at China Daily Website. Born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, Nancy is a graduate of the Broadcast Journalism and Media program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Her journalism career in broadcast and print has taken her around the world from New York to Portugal and now Beijing. Nancy is happy to make the move to China and join the China Daily team.