Ofo's days look numbered as rivals roll out new fleets

LTA issues notice of intention to cancel bike-sharing firm's licence to operate

As beleaguered bike-sharing firm ofo reaches the end of the road here, Singapore-based rival Anywheel is set to expand its fleet tenfold, while newcomer Moov Technology has been granted approval to roll out 1,000 bicycles.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) announced yesterday that it has issued a notice of intention to cancel ofo's licence to operate a bike-sharing service here.

In September last year, the Beijing-based firm was granted approval to operate 25,000 bicycles in Singapore under the LTA's bike-sharing licence regime.

The licence caps the number of bicycles companies can operate, and requires the firms to take measures to curb indiscriminate parking.

However, ofo's licence was suspended in February after it failed to meet regulatory requirements, such as failing to implement a QR code-based parking system that would allow its bicycles to be parked only within specified areas.

Ofo was later given until March 28 to meet these requirements, as the firm had told the LTA that it was in the "advanced stages of negotiation" to partner with another party to resume operations and fulfil the conditions.

"Despite the deadline extension, ofo has not complied," said the authority, adding that ofo has two weeks to submit a written representation if it wants to retain its licence here.

Ofo did not respond to The Straits Times' request for comments by press time.

In December last year, ofo chief executive Dai Wei said the firm was facing "immense" cash-flow problems.

In January, news outlet Today reported that ofo had laid off its entire operations team in Singapore without compensation.

  • 25k

  • Number of bikes ofo was allowed to operate in September last year. Its licence, however, was suspended in February.

  • 10k

    Number of bikes Anywheel will be allowed to operate.

  • 1k

    Number of bikes newcomer Moov Technology can operate.


The LTA also announced that existing operator Anywheel, which was awarded a "sandbox" licence to operate 1,000 shared bikes here last September, has been granted a full licence to run a fleet of 10,000 two-wheelers.

Sandbox licences are granted to new operators, allowing them to operate smaller fleets while the LTA assesses their operations.

Industry newcomer Moov Technology has been granted a sandbox licence, which allows it to have 1,000 bicycles.

According to Bizfile data, Moov Technology is headed by Ms Sharon Meng, who was previously with Mobike as the firm's Singapore country manager. Ms Meng did not respond to requests for comments.

Last month, Chinese firm Mobike announced that it was pulling out of the Singapore market.

Ywise Circle, another firm that applied, was not granted a licence as it did not satisfy the evaluation criteria, the authority said.

"Under LTA's licensing framework, operators who have been granted sandbox and full licences for device-sharing services will be allowed to operate in public places for one year and two years respectively," said the authority.

Meanwhile, the results of personal mobility device (PMD) sharing licence applications will be announced by the middle of this year.

There are currently 13 companies in the running to offer PMD-sharing services here.

"More time is needed to evaluate this first licence application cycle for PMD-sharing activities, which involve new activities such as the charging of shared devices that are not present in bicycle-sharing services," said the LTA.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 04, 2019, with the headline 'Ofo's days look numbered as rivals roll out new fleets'. Subscribe