Dockless bike share firm Ofo says it remains committed to London, but it has been pulling out of smaller UK cities – such as Norwich – and has removed its bikes from some countries altogether, including India.
Rumours have been rife in the bike share world that Ofo has been suffering cash-flow problems because of its global expansion.
UK staff have recently been made redundant, and it’s possible that its new owner – the cash-rich Alibaba, China’s Amazon – is no longer willing to give blank cheque after blank cheque.
Meanwhile, rival operator Mobike appears to be winning what was always going to be a bruising, first-to-scale battle. Mobike has nine million bikes and 200 million registered users around the world and earlier this year was acquired by digital specialist Meituan Dianping in a $1 billion deal.
In India, Ofo’s communications manager Rajarshi Sahai told the press: “We are shutting down our country operation. It is part of a global strategy to shrink the footprint.”
If that’s the global strategy then Ofo has lost not just the battle but also the war.