China’s remaining independent bike-sharing startup Ofo wants to “fight till the end”
In the film Darkest Hour, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill refused to surrender, determined to fight against Nazi Germany at all costs.
Chinese bike-sharing startup Ofo says it’s in a similar war.
In an internal meeting, Ofo’s CEO Dai Wei bizarrely compared the company’s situation to wartime Britain, as portrayed in Darkest Hour. The South China Morning Post reports that he told his staff that they can leave the company now if they do not want to fight until the end.
Ofo was one of the two major players in China’s bike-sharing industry -- which in truth is more like bike rental than bike sharing. It exploded in 2016 but soon declined as competitors flooded the market and crammed China’s streets with littered bikes. Its biggest rival Mobike was bought by the country’s consumer giant Meituan in early April.
The startup reportedly refused a potential acquisition offer from China’s ride-hailing giant Didi in late April.
With the domestic market full, China’s bike-sharing firms are looking overseas for expansion. Ofo says it’s already in 25 cities across the US, and aims to be in 100 by the end of 2018. But judging by what happened in one American city, it looks like their problems are following them across the Pacific.