ofo scaling back operations around the globe, UK staff let go

Dockless bike share giant ofo has in recent weeks been scaling back its operations across the globe as part of a significant restructing.

Pulling the plug entirely on India, Australia, a handful of European territories and, in the UK, Sheffield and Norwich, the dockless giant has long faced cash flow issues on the back of rapid scaling of its business.

The firm will also now pull out of its planned launch in Leeds where more than 1,000 bikes were set to be deployed.

CI.N has now learned from a source within the business who has this week faced redundancy that “most of the UK team” is in the same boat, though London’s offices will remain a hub for the business.

ofo told CI.N that it will continue to expand in London where it is seeing record hire figures.

“Joseph Seal-Driver, General Manager of ofo UK, said: “Our hire numbers in London keep climbing and we continue to increase bike numbers across the capital. Our new strategy will see changes in some cities but customers in London will notice nothing except a constantly improving service.”

The company has close to 200,000 users in the UK and its 2,800 bikes in London see an average of three hires each day.

Backed by Alibaba, the Indian operation has now closed, taking with it around 30 employees.

Of this Rajarshi Sahai, director of public policy and communications at Ofo said: “We are shutting down our country operation. It is part of a global strategy to shrink the footprint.”

Sahai said that ofo had achieved 1 million rides in ten weeks of operation in India, which he said was a “positive note”, before wishing others in the ecosystem the best of luck in growing their operations in the country. The Indian market, where many live below the poverty line, has largely welcomed a cheap to use expanded mobility opportunity .

In Australia, Reddy Go joins ofo in pulling the plug on capital city markets. ofo will now wind down operations within Sydney and Adelaide over the next two months.

“As part of this process Ofo will begin to remove bikes from cities and consolidate them to our warehouses,” an ofo spokesperson said.

“This decision does not come lightly, and Ofo Australia will act responsibly in each market as it winds down operations, resolving any outstanding concerns before finalising operations.”