Chinese Smartbike Sharing Firm Bluegogo Has New Bikes, Business Strategy And U.S. Expansion Plans

Bluegogo execs unveiling the new Pro 2 model in a press conference in Beijing.

Ask any American or European who’ve spent time in China and Hong Kong for their impression on the two regions, and they’ll likely use adjectives along the lines of “fast-paced” and “hectic” (along with “overcrowded”.) There’s no denying this — Chinese people work fast. Back in early December I visited the office of new startup named Bluegogo, which had just introduced its line of dockless smartbikes onto the streets of Shenzhen a few days prior (more information on how these bikes work can be found in my other piece here, but the TL;DR version is they are station-less bikes that can be rented and left behind anywhere within the city). At the time of our meeting, the company had released about 5,000 bicycles on the streets. Within a month, that number grew to 70,000 (it helps when you have your own bike-building factory). Bluegogo’s reps also told me during our meeting that they were considering launching in San Francisco, which was something I took with a grain of salt at the time … except the company actually accomplished this a month later — albeit to initial backlash from city officials. And now, not even four full months since its first batch of bikes, Bluegogo has already updated its line with two new models — the first of which are already on streets now.

Like I said, the Chinese work fast.

The first new model, dubbed the Bluegogo Pro, has a larger 26-inch wheel to the original 24-inchers, making for an easier ride. It’s already out on city streets. The new model, “Pro 2,” has what the company calls a “concept design” that uses a special recyclable, decomposable material for the bike’s frame. It’s also, according to Bluegogo chief operating officer Ye Sun, 33% lighter yet seven times stronger than the aluminum frame of previous models.

“We’d like to think of ourselves as a lifestyle company that promotes bicycle riding culture,” Ye says. “So this more-environmental friendly bike that’s also easier to ride was something we wanted to work on since the beginning.”