Bike-Sharing Company Ofo Backpedals on International Dreams

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11:30 PM HKT, Fri July 20, 2018 1 mins read

We’ve written a lot about the ongoing war between shared-bike giants Mobike and Ofo. One is orange, and one is yellow. One is a portmanteau, and one is not. Those are some of the biggest differences between the two companies, who provide near-identical products and services in the rapidly expanding “shared economy”.

But with little to differentiate the two brands’ dockless shared bikes, the battle comes down to the simple question: who is the better company?

Ofo is looking nervous, having now announced a major pullback across its less profitable international sectors.

The company will be pulling its bikes altogether from several countries, and scaling back operations in other countries to focus on major cities. Ofo had expanded into international operations very quickly, and from the looks of it, without enough focus on sustainability.

They’ll be removing service in Australia, Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, India, Israel, and the Netherlands. Meanwhile, they’ll also be scaling back heavily on the number of operational cities in Italy, Spain, the UK, and the US. As part of the re-shuffle, co-founder and CEO Dai Wei will be directly in charge of international strategy.

The announcement comes not long after Mobike was bought by the all-consuming mega app Meituan. Meituan’s services compete directly with China’s largest food delivery apps, ride-hailing apps, and with the acquisition of Mobike, bike-sharing apps. Bolstered with increased financial resources, Mobike was able to stop requiring refundable deposits from new users. Ofo, however, has not been able to make that leap.

While nothing is certain, it seems Ofo’s chain has come loose, so to speak. The company appears to be spinning its wheels in place. They just can’t gear up for this level of competition, and haven’t had any luck catching a brake. Alright, enough bike puns. Things aren’t looking great for Ofo, but tune in next time for continued blow-by-blow updates.

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