Ofo gets more time to remove bicycles from public spaces, is in talks for partnership

Ofo gets more time to remove bicycles from public spaces, is in talks for partnership

ofo bike
Ofo bike-sharing bicycles are pictured in Singapore. (Photo: REUTERS/Edgar Su/Files)

SINGAPORE: A request from Chinese bike-sharing company Ofo for more time to remove its bicycles from public spaces has been granted by the Land Transport Authority (LTA), the authority said on Thursday (Mar 14).

One reason for the reprieve was the company's progress in implementing the QR code system, which kicked in on Jan 14.

Ofo headquarters has informed LTA that it is in "advanced stages of negotiations" to partner Ofo Singapore with another party.

READ: LTA suspends Ofo's operating licence, bikes to be removed from public spaces

The original deadline for the removal of Ofo's bikes was on Wednesday. Ofo's licence will continue to be suspended during the extension.

"If ofo eventually does not fully comply with the licence requirements, LTA will cancel ofo’s bicycle-sharing licence and require them to remove all bicycles from public places," the authority warned. 

The decision comes after fellow Chinese firm Mobike sought consent from LTA to surrender its bike-sharing licence, saying that it would "re-evaluate its units in other overseas markets".

READ: Mobike calls it quits, seeks LTA approval to surrender licence

OFO'S TROUBLES

On Feb 14, LTA suspended Ofo's bike-sharing licence and ordered the Chinese company to remove its bikes from public places by Mar 13. 

The authority had said that it would take "the necessary regulatory action, including possible cancellation of ofo’s licence". 

Channel NewsAsia reported in January that Ofo had terminated all its employees in Singapore by the end of January.

READ: Ofo has 'practically ceased' operations, sacked employees say, no official notice made to LTA

It was also reported that Ofo owes at least two of its former logistic vendors around S$700,000 for their services.

Last December, Ofo's chief executive Dai Wei said the start-up backed by Alibaba Group Holding was facing "immense" cash flow problems

READ: China bike-sharing firm Ofo faces "immense" cash crunch, CEO vows to battle on

"The whole of this year we've borne immense cash flow pressures. Returning deposits to users, paying debts to suppliers and keeping operations running," Dai Wei said in a letter posted on social media by Ofo's head of public relations. 

However, Dai, who is also Ofo's founder, said he was determined to keep the company afloat. 

"As pressures mount we must endure, as difficulties grow we must find ways to overcome them," he said in the letter dated Dec 19.

At its peak, Ofo had bike fleets in more than 20 countries, from France to Australia and the United States.

Source: CNA/nh(hm)

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