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Mobike to start fining users who park in 'grey zones'

The latest calamity in China's shared services industry

Photograph: courtesy Mobike
China's sharing economy is going through a bit of a shakeup as of late. Ofo is getting sued by its bike and logistics suppliers for 180 million RMB in unpaid bills, Dida drivers (not Didi) have gotten busted for secretly live streaming female passengers, Didi is suspending its late-night service for a week while it finally gets around to solving patriarchal violence against women, shopping site JD.com announces its own ride-sharing service just days after its CEO gets arrested in the USA for alleged sexual misconduct.

Then we have Mobike (who has suspended one of its executives due to accusations of sexual harassment) being all: Come on, people, can we please start parking our bikes in the right place? Do we have to start fining you? We've done the whole social credit system, and the electric fences, and still... tch, we're going to start fining you a small amount that's more symbolically meaningful than substantially punitive if you keep parking our bikes in the bike lane. That might be paraphrased, even embellished, for entertainment purposes.

But yes, according to SHINE, Mobike is introducing a whopping 5RMB fine to users who park their bikes in especially prohibited 'grey areas' that are outlined in the app's map. These fineable areas will first be introduced to Lujiazui and around the National Exhibition and Convention Center.

Users will first get a warning pop-up in the app if they try to park in one of these areas, and if the user decides to spurn authority they will get charged 5RMB and have points deducted from their credit score. If the user is made sufficiently ashamed and remorseful by these measures, or they simply want their 5RMB back for a bottle of water, they have a short period of time to have the fine refunded by moving their bike – or other bikes – out of prohibited parking areas and into allowed parking areas.

According to Mobike, illegal bike parking has gone down 30 percent since the credit system's introduction in June. It looks like they're trying to bump that number up with this new fine, especially since illegally parked bikes cost the company manual removal labour and whatever the city government might fine for sidewalk cluttering. It's almost like... Mobike and its users share responsibility for their bikes. That's a bold proposition. We'll see how it plays out.

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