The oBike company has collapsed in Singapore, leading to them pulling out of Sydney. Picture: John Grainger
The oBike company has collapsed in Singapore, leading to them pulling out of Sydney. Picture: John Grainger

Chinese share bike company selling users’ data

THE company which triggered the global share bike craze has gone into liquidation owing members $6.1 million.

The collapse of oBike in Singapore comes as two of four share bike operators pulled out of Sydney, with one, ReddyGo, seeking to rollover 90,000 members to a mystery new "technology platform".

ReddyGo is even trying to make customers clean up the mess left in Sydney by its failed business, telling them an alternative to rolling over their $99 membership fee to the new business is to pick up two bikes each to get rid of the stock it can no longer use.

Another share bike company, Ofo, run by ­Chinese-born Wei Dai, is blatantly mining users for detailed location and movement data and selling it to third parties, its terms and conditions reveal.

An analysis of share bike operators' privacy policies reveals they are tracking people by GPS, retaining personal information relating to health and religious preferences and keeping passport numbers and birth certificate details.

In Sydney, share bikes owned by oBike, ReddyGo, Ofo and Mobile have been blocking footpaths and have being dumped in the harbour and on beaches.

Regulations are catching up across Australia and the globe and hitting the companies' bottom lines with hefty fines for dumped bikes. Obike's collapse was triggered by new laws hitting operators with $10,000 fines or six months' jail.

The NSW government is planning $2500 fines for dumped bikes. Melbourne already has $3000 fines.

The NSW government is planning $2500 fines for dumped bikes. Picture: John Grainger
The NSW government is planning $2500 fines for dumped bikes. Picture: John Grainger

Premier Gladys Berejiklian rejected share bike ­operators' claims fines would crush their business.

"That's what they say - it could just be that people don't want to use the system and … that people aren't happy with how it's working," she said.

Market research analyst IBISWorld said the bike sharing business model, based on "obtaining revenue through data mining, advertising and interest on deposits, rather than the fee charges per ride", had contributed to its downfall.

In Sydney oBike members are charged a $69 ­annual fee. The terms and conditions of Ofo, which is winding down its Sydney operation, prevent customers from withdrawing any credit from their accounts.

ReddyGo's sole director Au Tang said members who paid $99 to join his venture would have the option of joining his new start-up business, when he worked out what it was.

oBike’s collapse was triggered y new laws hitting operators with $10,000 fines or six months’ jail. Picture: John Grainger
oBike’s collapse was triggered y new laws hitting operators with $10,000 fines or six months’ jail. Picture: John Grainger


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