Ofo launches shared-bike docking service in Shenzhen to alleviate capital crunch

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/8/7 16:48:40

Ofo bikes are seen on a road in the Huangpu district of Shanghai in July. Photo: IC

Chinese bike-sharing platform ofo has rolled out a "docking service" in Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong Province, that requires users to park shared bikes in specific parking areas after use. The move represents the latest effort from players in the bike-sharing industry to save themselves from capital crunch and overcome regulatory hurdles.

A spokesperson from ofo said that the new service is a departure from its old business model that operated dockless shared bikes. The new service is being promoted in Shenzhen's Luohu and Futian districts and is "running well."

Users who do not park ofo bikes in designated dock points on three or more occasions will be charged 20 yuan ($2.84), the spokesperson said. 

Alibaba-backed ofo, once a leader in the bike-sharing industry, has been on the verge of bankruptcy due to immense cash-flow problems. The firm reportedly owed users more than 1 billion yuan in deposits, after users rushed for an immediate return of deposits in December 2018.

Ofo's fall, in many industry observers' eyes, shows how start-ups in China can quickly expand at the cost of burning money, without first deriving a sustainable business model.

To generate income, ofo has been selling scrapped yellow bikes to recycling stations in Beijing at a price of 5 yuan per unit, new website 21jingji.com reported. The cost of building a yellow bike is about 300 yuan.

Bike-sharing platform Hellobike also announced plans that starting from Friday, the cost to ride its bikes will be raised to 1.50 yuan per 30 minutes.


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