You have to stand in awe of bike sharing.
For those of you that live in China, try to name another service that has become so pervasive in your life so quickly. Bike-sharing has gone from a crazy idea to covering almost every sidewalk in the country in about 18 months. When has a new service ever grown this fast?
Well, online services can grow like this. For example, email, messaging, and online videos. But when has anything like this happened in the physical world? I think we’re seeing something new.
My explanation for the stunning power of bike-sharing is “independent assets”. It is because these companies created a new type of asset (a smart bike) that can survive out in the world on its own. And these independent assets can market, sell and deliver services on their own. And, because of their independence, they can be released in huge numbers.
Here’s a short video with my explanation – and a little tour of Peking University.
I write and speak about the fight for Chinese consumers and digital China.