Dockless firm is shuttering markets and shedding staff in effort to stay afloat
Carlton ReidJul 19, 2018
Last week BikeBiz predicted that Ofo’s woes were such that it might have “lost not just the battle but also the war”. This followed news that the Chinese dockless firm was scaling back in the UK and pulling out of some markets, including India. Now the independently owned company has laid off 70 of its 100 US workers, and it has been revealed that in the UK key staff let go include PR manager Matthew Sparkes.
Sparkes is currently working out his notice and remains tight-lipped on the ongoing plans for the company, but he repeated the official line that Ofo remains committed to big cities such as London.
A statement from the US operation said: “As we continue to bring bike share to communities across the globe, Ofo has begun to reevaluate markets that present obstacles to new, green transit solutions, and prioritize growth in viable markets that support alternative transportation and allow us to continue to serve our customers.”
The remaining staff have been told the US operation is “going into sleep mode.”
As well as the US hibernation and pulling out of India, Ofo has also recently closed down its operations in Israel, Australia and Germany.
Rumours have been rife in the bike share world that, because of its rapid global expansion, Ofo has been suffering financial problems. Despite an influx of fresh capital from Alibaba – China’s Amazon – the company founded in 2014 by students at Beijing’s Peking University is struggling against competitor Mobike and is nowhere near to turning a profit. Ofo appears to be running out of both cash and time.