Bike-sharing firm ofo ceases operations in Malaysia after one year

The Alibaba-backed company from Beijing first rolled into Melaka in 2017 with a fleet of 500 bicycles.
The Alibaba-backed company from Beijing first rolled into Melaka in 2017 with a fleet of 500 bicycles. PHOTO: REUTERS

MELAKA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Ofo has ceased operations in Malaysia, more than a year after the bike-sharing service expanded into Melaka in 2017.

In a statement to A+M magazine, ofo's spokesman said the company was reorganising its international strategy to focus on priority markets, which in Asia includes Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea and Japan.

"As part of our focus, we have been working towards profitability and this has meant that some markets have had change in staff priorities and positions. We remain fully committed to providing affordable, efficient green mobility options to our priority markets," says the spokesman.

The Alibaba-backed company from Beijing first rolled into Melaka in 2017 with a fleet of 500 bicycles.

During the trial phase, the rides used to cost RM1 (S$0.33) an hour.

A check of ofo's website showed the rides should still cost the same, though there is no alert to show the service has shut down on its site.

Meanwhile, ofo Malaysia's Facebook last posted on July 31 that its bikes were being sold to the public, and warned that unauthorised sales and removal of bicycles will be reported to the local authorities.

Ofo recently began preparations to suspend its operations in South Korea, putting most of its Korean employees on a "suspension" as part of a general layoff, an industry source with knowledge of the start-up's affairs told The Korea Herald.

Another bike-sharing company, oBike ceased operations in Singapore this June, leaving users in a lurch with millions of dollars in deposits yet to be returned while the service's 14,000 bicycles remain strewn across the city.

It is unclear what will happen to ofo's bikes in Melaka, though the service does not require a deposit from users.