ZHUHAI, China, Feb. 23, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Beijing, the birthplace of the bicycle share scheme, is about to introduce a new player into the marketplace. On February 22nd, the latest entrant in the sector -- itjuzi.com -- announced the launch of a collaborative effort with leading Chinese smart hardware manufacturer Zhuhai CTC Electronic Co., Ltd consisting of roll outs of stand-free bike-sharing schemes in several cities around the world. Beijing joins the roster of cities, following London in the UK and Zhuhai in southern China. The plan for Beijing calls for a test phase with 1,000 bicycles followed by a roll up to between 40 and 80 thousand bicycles within a year.
itjuzi.com's bicycle share scheme, dubbed "Getb", allows the rider to charge his or her cellphone while riding, a new and unique feature setting it apart from other bicycle-sharing providers including mobike.com and ofo. A further differentiator is the ability to ride and to park anywhere, freeing the rider from the obligation of returning the bike to a fixed location, in addition to the availability of GPS and QR code scanning lock. This new technology provides a highly viable and attractive solution for what is referred to as the "last kilometer" segment of a journey, the issue of how to get to and from the closest public transport point and home or the final destination, in addition to a solution for the stressful issue of how to recharge one's phone while on the bicycle.
It is not difficult to see how welcome this solution is, given that battery technology has fallen behind the increase of power consumption due to the expansion of features on smartphones. Most smartphones can no longer hold a charge through the eight hours of an average working day, putting users who depend on their phone for work or for daily chores into "impossible" situations.
Being able to charge one's cell phone while on the move has become a compelling need. Itjuzi.com CEO Zhou Min explained, "According to relevant data, in the neighborhood of 3 billion phone are being carried around in the pockets and handbags of China's population every day, and there is a serious shortage of public facilities for the recharging of phones. The launch of this new shared bicycle scheme coupled with the phone recharging feature is a step in the right direction. Through the app on the rider's cell phone, it becomes very easy to locate a bicycle equipped with a charging device. In this sense, borrowing from a slogan that is currently popular in Chinese, itjuzi is the kind of shared bike 'born to charge cell phones'.
Today one can spot many shared bicycle schemes on the streets of Beijing, the two most common ones being Mobike and ofo. The plethora of available schemes would normally be a sign that the market is quickly becoming saturated. Why did itjuzi choose this moment to enter the market?
"Currently, there are somewhere between 180 and 250 thousand shared bikes in Beijing, but the fact is, compared to the need, the market has far to go before it has reached saturation", Zhou added.
Different from what some market observers have claimed, according to Zhou's calculation, the demand for shared bicycles in Beijing during the peak spring and autumn periods can easily reach one million. itjuzi's plan calls for placing 800 thousand bicycles in 15 major cities across Europe and China, including Hamburg, Berlin, Paris, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, within one year following the formal launch in London, Zhuhai and Beijing in 2017.
All shared bicycle projects follow a similar model, with the only difference being the color scheme of their respective fleets of bicycles. As more and more schemes make their appearance, each one piling even more investment into the scheme than the last one, it is no longer an issue of putting a scheme in place and watch the money roll in. The increase in competition compels every shared bicycle brand to try everything to have its service and brand stand out from the others by differentiating what can be delivered in terms of not only software but also hardware. The cellphone charging feature is a perfect example of a major and meaningful differentiating feature. In order not to reveal any trade secrets, Zhou Min declined to provide any detailed information and limited what he was prepared to reveal at this time to a photo of a bicycle and refrained from presenting any photos of the charging device itself.
Due to the competitive pressure, itjuzi decided to fast track their roll out which meant giving up some aspects of the original product strategy in order to gain time to get into the market. Zhou explained that he decided that the longer approval system required by Apple did not merit the wait and the firm has gone ahead with the roll out with chargers for Android phones. Current bicycles can only provide charges for Android, with Apple following in roughly a month's time.
It is quite apparent that the multiplicity of shared bicycle operators means that each one will continue to improve their offering in an effort to gain a bigger slice of the market. The inclusion of a cell phone charging service as part of the initial launch was a quick move of behalf of itjuzi to solve a real issue for the general public and one that is expected to draw attention to the brand. However, this is merely the beginning of the "arms race" in the bicycle-share market. We can expect to see innovations all across the market. Itjuzi expects to remain at the forefront as, over time, it rolls out a continuous suite of innovations.
SOURCE Zhuhai CTC Electronic Co., Ltd.