China Bike-Sharing Giant Ofo to Shut Most U.S. Operations

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Less than a 12 months after China’s Ofo Inc. entered the U.S. with large ambitions, the world’s largest bike-share firm plans to shut down most of its U.S. operations, individuals aware of the matter stated.

Beijing-based Ofo instructed U.S. staff Wednesday that it’s reducing the overwhelming majority of its workforce within the U.S. and retreating to a handful of bigger cities, these individuals stated. Ofo instructed employees it’s nonetheless figuring out precisely which cities by which it’s going to proceed working, the individuals stated. It at present has greater than 40,000 bicycles in additional than 30 U.S. markets.

At least three senior executives have left Ofo’s U.S. operations in current weeks, together with its chief in North America, forward of the deliberate downsizing, the individuals stated.

Andrew Daley,

Ofo’s new head of North America, stated in a press release that the corporate has begun to “prioritize growth in viable markets that support alternative transportation and allow us to continue to serve our customers.”

Ofo is the biggest international participant within the enterprise of dockless bikes, which riders hire by an app then go away wherever their trip ends. It claims to have deployed extra such bikes than some other firm, main a enterprise that has reshaped city transportation in China and different international locations within the 4 years because it took off.

Ofo and its principal rival, Beijing Mobike Technology Co., collectively declare round 20 million bicycles on international streets, utilizing a enterprise mannequin that impressed U.S. enterprise capitalists to pour a whole lot of hundreds of thousands of just lately into two electrical scooter corporations aiming to do the identical within the U.S.

Ofo this winter introduced that it had secured $866 million in funding from backers together with

Alibaba Group Holding
Ltd.

Other traders embrace Chinese ride-hailing service Didi Chuxing Technology Co.

Ofo final 12 months started a big push into the U.S. and has blanketed streets of cities together with Dallas, San Diego, Scottsdale, Ariz., and Seattle with its distinctive yellow bikes. For months, it provided free rides to win riders, as U.S. opponents like Lime and Spin started to develop. It aspired to attain 300,000 bikes on U.S. streets by year-end 2018.

But development was slower than anticipated within the U.S., the place human-powered bicycles have confirmed much less widespread than Ofo and different backers anticipated. Ridership in lots of U.S. cities is effectively beneath what the businesses want to break even, stated former Ofo staff. Adding to the problem, dense markets like Boston and Manhattan have unique bike-share agreements with corporations which have put in docks—blocking the doorway of dockless corporations.

Write to Eliot Brown at [email protected]

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