Freight firm plans to sell ofo's bikes over dispute

Bike-share firm says forwarder's actions 'unduly aggressive' as talks over payments ongoing

A freight forwarding company in a commercial dispute with bike-share operator ofo is apparently planning to sell off a warehouse's worth of new ofo bicycles which had been shipped over from China.

But ofo said it has agreed to pay the "relevant fees" for the services provided by the freight company - which it did not name - and labels the actions the latter has taken as "unduly aggressive", given that both parties are still in talks.

The details of the payment spat are unclear as ofo has declined to elaborate further. Leading Logistics, the firm believed to be involved, did not reply to queries from The Straits Times yesterday.

A flier advertising the sale of ofo's yellow two-wheelers, starting at $50, has been making its round on the Internet over the weekend.

The sale, to be held between June 15 and 17, will take place at 5 Tuas Avenue 3, at a warehouse space rented from Bok Seng Logistics.

It is believed about 9,000 bicycles are currently housed there.

A Bok Seng Logistics spokesman said the company had not been informed formally by any related parties of the planned sale, and it has not authorised the event.

About 9,000 new ofo bikes are said to be in the warehouse. A flier advertising the warehouse sale has been circulatiing on the Internet.
About 9,000 new ofo bikes are said to be in the warehouse. A flier advertising the warehouse sale has been circulatiing on the Internet. PHOTO: TECHNODE

"Therefore, no sales will be conducted on the mentioned dates," the Bok Seng Logistics spokesman added.

Ofo's head of policy and communications for South-east Asia, Mr Christopher Hilton, said ofo is considering its legal options but at the same time "working in good faith" to avoid a sale of the bicycles.

"In ofo's view, such a sale is being unreasonably pursued to gain leverage in completing ongoing commercial discussions," Mr Hilton said.

The sale of ofo's bicycles was first reported by Chinese technology website TechNode, which cited sources claiming that ofo was selling its bikes to downsize its operations in Singapore, and was facing a cash crunch.

Ofo's Mr Hilton said: "The flier/advertisement was not created by ofo and does not reflect an official ofo position."

There are about 100,000 dockless shared bicycles in Singapore, supplied by six companies: Mobike, oBike, ofo, SG Bike, ShareBikeSG, and Anywheel. The competition appears to have claimed its first casualty, with the one-year-old GBikes pulling out on July 7.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 12, 2018, with the headline 'Freight firm plans to sell ofo's bikes over dispute'. Print Edition | Subscribe