ofo in Deep Trouble? Co-founder Denies Rumored COO Resignation and Layoff

Radical personnel changes happened to ofo senior management including a massive layoff, according to Chinese media reports. Zhang Yanqi, COO of ofo reportedly resigned and the overseas sales department which he led was dissolved at the same time.

A report on Huxiu.com on Monday said some independent sources told the Beijing-based bike-sharing company are in crisis. A record layoff in its history is taking place at the headquarters of ofo, impacting up to 50% of the staff.

Dai Wei, the co-founder and CEO of ofo
Dai Wei, the co-founder and CEO of ofo

Only 32 among the 80-member supply chain team would stay according to the sources . In addition to Zhang Yanqi, two other managers of the overseas marketing department, Nan Nan and Yang Xun, will both be leaving the company.

Yu Xin, co-founder of ofo, however, denied the rumors in a personal WeChat post this morning, saying that no changes have taken place in management and there are no layoffs.

According to Caixin Weekly, ofo’s total operating fund was estimated to be around 350 million yuan ($55 million) as of December 1, 2017. In order to obtain more cash flow, ofo began to sell ad space on the body of their bikes.

Dai Wei, the co-founder and CEO of ofo, rejected an acquisition offer form Didi Chuxing in May and expressed his determination to fight till the last moment.

ofo has cancelled their deposit-free service in 20 cities where users now have to pay the 199 yuan ($31) deposit unless they add 95 yuan ($15) to their account. Currently, the deposit-free offer is only available in five cities: Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hangzhou and Xiamen.

Alibaba‘s financial affiliate Ant Financial who holds a stake in ofo was reported to have invested 2.06 billion yuan ($321 million) into Hellobike last month, giving birth to another Chinese bike-sharing unicorn and likely opening a new chapter of the bike-sharing war in China.