documentary Channel

Inside one of China's hidden bike-sharing bicycle graveyards

‘The smaller piles have about 40,000 or 50,000 bikes. And the larger ones have over 200,000 bikes.’

‘The smaller piles have about 40,000 or 50,000 bikes. And the larger ones have over 200,000 bikes.’

Inside one of China's hidden bike-sharing bicycle graveyards | The Gig is Up

4 months ago
Duration 2:43
Photographer Wu Guoyong shows a hidden spot in Shenzhen. Hundreds of thousands of bicycles were discarded as different bike-sharing companies fought for dominance.

In China, hundreds of thousands of bicycles have been discarded in the fight for dominance over the bike-sharing market. 

Wu Guoyong has photographed bicycle graveyards sites across the country. His photographs and drone video have been viewed hundreds of millions of times. 

In the documentary The Gig is Up, part of Hot Docs on CBC, photographer Wu Guoyong explains how the graveyards came to be. 

This is a hidden spot I've found in Shenzhen. The government doesn't really want us, or the big companies, to know about this. That's why all the bike-sharing graveyards are hidden. 

The smaller piles have about 40,000 or 50,000 bikes. And the larger ones have over 200,000 bikes. Over 70 brands were competing for dominance, including many small companies. Everyone could see the money to be made. All that competition led to a market oversaturation. 

A major platform like [Chinese bike-sharing platform] Ofo said that it was like fighting a war. Each month, you have to conquer many cities. 

As a photographer, I feel lucky to have this point of view and to capture these images. 

At a deeper level, it's the result of extreme consumerism. We've been mercilessly thrown away, thrown away to this graveyard. 

My photos and videos of the bike graveyards got 300 million views in 15 days. Capitalism is an important force to push society forward. But without controls, without reins, it has the force of a wild horse, which can play havoc with our dreams and plans.

The Gig is Up, part of Hot Docs on CBC, uncovers the real costs of the platform economy through the lives of workers from around the world for companies including Uber, Amazon and Deliveroo.

 

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now