France first and Germany next? Starting last month, Germany allowed scooter-sharing companies to officially operate across the country (if an ABE ‘Allgemeine Betriebserlaubnis’ is in place). These days it seems Europe has become the battleground for both American scooter-sharing players like Bird and Lime (both established 2017) and European players Circ, Tier and Voi (all established 2018), just to name a few. Indeed, transportation has become a major pain point for many urbanites. However, the launch of more than 12 electric scooter-sharing companies and the introduction of 20k scooters into the Parisian cityscape has been far from perfect , leading mayor Anne Hidalgo to refer to it as a trend “not far from anarchy”.
Is history repeating itself? A lot has been written about the bike-sharing craze in China between around 2016 and 2018. In some ways, many of the actions taken by users, companies, investors and even regulators seem to mimic things we have observed in China before (note that scooter-sharing companies are blocked from operating in many Chinese cities). I want to connect the dots between what is happening in the scooter-sharing space in Europe (and US) right now and how this relates to the bike-sharing craze in China. While this article is a reflection of my opinions, it also presents a possible future scenario of what will happen next in the scooter-sharing industry.
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