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Bike-sharing App Targets Millenials Wanting To Rent Rather Than Buy
Standing out, with their thick alloy frames and hot orange wheels, Mobikes have taken Shanghai by storm (CCSS Level: Grade 8, Words: 385)
Aug 28, 2016 Style & Living

Launched by Beijing Mobike Technology in spring, a new app-enabled bike rental program allows riders to grab a nearby bike, unlock it with an app and then drop it at any convenient place when they are done.

With a very reasonable price of only 1 yuan for each half-hour of use, along with the ability to leave the bikes in almost any public area, this new startup has been an instant success. For young people in particular, riding these futuristic bikes is both economical and fun.

The company's mobile app allows users to find the bike nearest to where they are, then by scanning a QR code on the bike it can be unlocked and rented. The company asks for a deposit of RMB300 to join the program. Each bike is located using GPS tracking. When the bike is parked and locked, it signals the system to charge an automatic online payment.

Mobike's bicycles use a smart lock that was designed and developed especially for the company, and its app records millions of users' data.

"The Mobike is built on the simple concept of giving every urban dweller the option to make a short journey at an affordable price and with more convenience," the company said of its service. "To that end, we chose bicycles, which make travel more eco-friendly and help reduce the number of cars on the roads."

While largely popular and successful, there are always a few bad apples who spoil it for others. The two biggest problems have been riders hiding the bikes and some people have damaged the QR codes, making the bike unusable. Trying to keep the bike for themselves, some users hide them in bushes, put them inside compounds or even in lockup garages.

The company has brought in a points system to punish users who don't stick with the rules. Starting with a hundred points, rule-breakers lose 20 points for each violation. If a user's points fall below 80, the rental fee goes up sharply.

Mobike has already announced the launch of a similar service in Beijing and just last week the company received USD10 million funding from Panda Capital. In car-congested Shanghai, expect to see increasing numbers of Mobikes around, as more and more people leave the four-wheels behind and take two instead.

Which part of the bike had to be designed especially?
The GPS tracker
The QR code
The bright orange wheels
The smart-lock system
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told everyone



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a city where the government of a country or region sits



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groups of buildings with a wall or fence



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to send or shoot a rocket into outer space / to get moving



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while connected to a computer



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something not right, harmful



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a material that returns to its shape after pressed or stretched



the main body or stalk of a plant or shrub, usually rising above ground



getting fame or respect, reaching a goal



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machinery developed from scientific knowledge



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the act of doing something not allowed