The reports of our exit from Oxford are greatly exaggerated, oBike has told BikeBiz. Earlier this week we quoted a competitor dockless firm saying "The departure of oBike will benefit consumers."
However, oBike’s Annebeth Wijtenburg said the Singapore-based firm was "pausing Oxford operations amidst transition to new business model."
She added: "In December last year, oBike moved to a new business model, the Global Business Partnership Programme, in order to localize operations and tap into local expertise and experience.
"The GBPP is already being successfully implemented in several countries of operations in Europe, including France, Italy, and Spain.
"Here in the UK, we are currently in conversations with potential partners. While discussions are ongoing, we have decided to take the bikes off the street in Oxford to ensure we keep to the standards of operations as signed in the code of conduct."
GBPP is a franchise-like programme that involves third parties managing oBike’s on-ground operations and maintenance works.
oBike was only founded in January 2017, but went global just three months later. It now operates from 30+ cities worldwide. However, it is up against the giants of the dockless industry, Mobike and Ofo, who, between them, have been boosted with billions of dollars in venture capital funding by some of China’s leading tech companies such as Tencent and Alibaba.
oBike’s UK lead Haroon Khan is no longer with the company.