Ofo might be in for a lockdown.
An ongoing dispute with a provider of the smart-locking devices on Ofo’s bikes might see three million of its bikes unable to work soon, according to an exclusive report by Chinese media outlet National Business Daily (NBD) on Thursday, citing a source close to the provider.
If true, it would mean that more than one-fifth of its 14 million bikes would not work in the near future, if the threat from the provider goes through.
The provider has threatened to “terminate the usage” of the smart-locking devices which will result in Ofo’s bikes being unable to utilise any GPS function and Ofo’s unable to control its bikes remotely such as change the passwords on or conduct any remote maintenance on the three million bikes, the source told NBD. It has given Ofo a deadline of paying all arrears by July 25 6pm, although the repercussions to Ofo remain to be seen.
As the biggest bike-sharing company in the world, Ofo has been plagued by rumours of cash-flow issues since last year including inability to pay suppliers. It also recently announced that it is pulling out from the US market, after similar announcements in Israel, Australia, Germany as an attempt to “prioritize” on certain markets, the company said earlier.
Ofo did not deny not being able to pay the smart-locking devices provider in its reply to NBD Thursday, but also said that the issue of termination of services to some of its bikes does not exist.
KrASIA is reaching out to Ofo by publication time.