(Yicai Global) Nov. 16 -- China's central bank, the People's Bank of China (PBOC) is working with the country's Ministry of Transport to discuss specific regulatory measures related to user deposits for shared bicycle following refund issues surrounding the closures of failed bike-sharing firms such as Bluegogo and Coolqi, China Business Journal reported yesterday.
The Ministry of Transport, National Development and Reform Commission, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, Ministry of Public Security, PBOC and other ministries recently convened with transport regulators from 17 provinces and cities to hold a seminar on shared bicycle policy in Chengdu, capital of China's southwestern Sichuan province.
One of the key topics discussed was regulation on shared bike deposits, with the closures Bluegogo and Coolqi set to lead to a wave of more stringent regulatory measures.
Since the government developed formal regulations for the industry three months ago, multiple cities have brought in restrictions on shared bicycles.
"Our city requires bike-sharing firms to report their basic information, industrial and commercial information, personnel, insurance and deposit information. Take deposits information, for example, should indicate an operator’s commitment to holding a number of deposits in a dedicated account and invite oversight from a trustee endorsed with their signatures and seals,” said one member of staff from a local bike-sharing regulatory department.
"Although related materials have been submitted, scenarios in which firms such as Bluegogo, fail to refund deposits still exist. Most bike-sharing firms are headquartered in Beijing. As local regulators, we have no right to go to their Beijing headquarters to require them to disclose their accounts and check whether there has been any misappropriation of funds. Our regulatory power is limited,” the official added.
Bluegogo, established in October last year, secured CNY400 million in A-round funding in January this year, led by Black Hole Capital with a valuation of as high as CNY1 billion. Bluegogo announced in late October that users who applied for a deposit refund before Oct. 30, 2017, will be refunded before Nov. 10, 2017. However, up to now, there still remains a large number of users who have not received their refund.