The bike sharing industry in China employs 100,000 people, with new jobs accounting for one percent of all new employment in China in the first six months of this year, according to a report published Saturday by China's State Information Center.
The "Bike Sharing Industry Employment Research Report" revealed how a booming industry that merges technology, traditional manufacturing and research and development has ushered in a wave of new jobs across the country.
In July, the Ministry of Transport reported that there are now 70 bike sharing companies operating in China, with 130 million registered users riding 16 million bikes across the country.
With hundreds of millions of dollars invested into the industry, bike sharing is set to continue to grow – but debate remains over what it means for traditional manufacturers.
What was in the report?
The State Information Center says that of 7.17 million new jobs created in China in the first half of this year, 70,000 were in the bike sharing industry.
With a total workforce of 100,000, bike sharing employs 42,500 people in manufacturing, 35,000 to maintain bikes, and 5,000 workers handling distribution and logistics.
The remaining jobs are focused on high-tech side of the industry – 10,000 people alone work on the "smart locks" which have played a key role in the success of bike sharing, and 8,000 people operate the online platforms that give 130 million users access to the bikes.
What does it mean?
Bike sharing has become a major employer in a short space of time, for both blue collar and white collar workers. While the disruption caused by the bike-share boom is a challenge for authorities and traditional bicycle manufacturers, it has also presented new opportunities.
Last Thursday, Beijing became the latest city to ban new sharing bikes, over concerns that they were affecting traffic. The piles of bicycles left haphazardly across Chinese cities – often in a broken and damaged state – are now as ubiquitous as the workers organizing them into lines or collecting them for redistribution elsewhere.
With tighter regulations set to come into force, the number of people employed to maintain and redistribute the bikes will increase further. In Shanghai and Tianjin, local regulations that come into effect from October 1 state that there should be at least one worker for every 200 bicycles in operation.