Chinese bike-share firm Ofo dissolves overseas operations

Chinese dockless bike-share firm, Ofo, has pulled out of all overseas operations, including London.

According to China Entrepreneur magazine, Ofo General manager, Jeremy Chen, has dissolved the division and offered staff severance packages which involve move to lower-paid roles in the Chinese division or to leave the company altogether.

It has been reported that the firm has been teetering on the edge of bankruptcy for a while, due to “cash flow problems”.

At its peak, Ofo’s bike-sharing services were available in 250 cities in 21 countries worldwide, spread across Asia, Europe, the U.S. and Australia. The firm had around 6,000 bikes across London, Norwich, Sheffield, Oxford and Cambridge, according to numbers collated by the Guardian from press releases and local news reports.

Last year, Ofo pulled out of Manchester due to vandalism of its bikes, and similarly pulled out of starting up a bike-share fleet in Leeds despite being the front-runner to deliver the scheme.

CI.N reported in July last year that Ofo has started to scale back its overseas operations as part of a significant restructuring. Nearly all of its UK staff are understood to have been made redundant with the firm employing 60 staff in the UK at its peak.

Last month, China’s Ministry of Transport asked Ofo to speed up its refund process, following requests from millions of users for their deposits to be returned.

Hayley Everett

Multimedia Reporter

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