China’s shared bikes as one of the ‘four new inventions’ in foreigners’ eyes

3 min read

High-speed rails, Alipay, shared bikes and online shopping are China’s new four great ‘inventions’, said a number of foreign youngsters in China, mostly students from the Third World countries, when responding to a survey by the Silk Road Research Institute of Beijing Foreign Studies University.

Perhaps, commercially or scientifically speaking, these items are not ‘invented’ by China. However, the global scale of spreading by China is really impressive, especially Mobike’s stationless bicycle-sharing system.

China’s Mobike combines the technologies of GPS, smartphone applications, AliPay and others to make renting and sharing bikes extremely easy. Having proved its success, Mobike has expanded the business operations to Singapore, Manchester, Flerence and Milan. London will have it in September.

To me, bike is not an ordinary consumer product. I am a big fan of cycling not because it is a sport, but because it is a daily self-help carbon-emission-free transport tool. When I as a young boy returned to my home country which is a rural area in eastern Guangdong in the 1960s, bikes were everywhere. These bikes were made of heavy iron bars, not the light weight alloy for sports. People rode on these heavy bikes for long hours for travelling, carrying passengers, or delivering goods or parcels etc, all by their own legs. Biking is not simply a physical exercise, but also a test of your will power when you need to ride on it 4-6 hours or more every day.

Many nations all over the world had to certain extent gone through this period of using bikes as a transport mean, but the time in China was rather long. I do not have any academic study on this but it is my belief that cycling is one of the best exercises to disciple your human mind and your will power. Hundreds of millions of Chinese, generation after generation, have experienced this process, and thus we are unusually hard working in a crazy way. Nowadays, automobiles are everywhere but millions of Chinese are still fond of cycling on a daily basis. It is perhaps one of the main reasons why shared bikes are so popular in large cities on the mainland. As it is also environmentally friendly, peoples all over the world also love it. We need more creative enterprises to make shared bikes more convenient and user friendly so much so that we can live a healthier life, hammer out a self-discipline spirit, and preserve our clean Earth.

The opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of China Daily Mail.

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Tony Simon

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