On December 17, hundreds of users lined up at ofos new headquarters in Beijings Internet Financial Center to register for deposit refund. They heard that the deposit could be withdrawn quickly. According to the security guard on the spot, someone came to the company at 8:00 a.m. Around 14 p.m., the registered users told the surging journalists, ofo said that the deposit and balance will be returned to Alipay within three days after registration.
But most people are suspicious. Thats what they say. Who knows? User representations.
Just that night, the calibre of ofo seems to have changed again: if a user registers at the company site, we will incorporate the collected information into the online deposit refund sequence in chronological order. This means that there will be no difference between registering at Headquarters and submitting applications online.
Deposit, which varies from 99 yuan to 199 yuan per user, has become a straw that weighs heavily like Mount Tai and is pressed on the head of ofo.
More than that.
Since mid-November, ofo has been changing office locations in many companies throughout the country. According to incomplete statistics, since 2018, at least nine companies have brought ofo to court for contract disputes involving logistics transportation, housing leasing, advertising costs, arrears and other issues. Some cases have been settled, and many are still pending trial.
On December 18, 2017, ofo founder Dai Wei asked capital to understand the aspirations and determination of entrepreneurs. A year later, Deweys internal message has become As long as we live, we have hope.
How much time is left for ofo?
Hundreds of people queued to register for deposit refund
On December 17, a Pengchao journalist at ofos new headquarters in Beijings Internet Financial Center saw hundreds of ofo users queuing for refunds at the company and security and police on the scene maintaining order.
According to the security guard on the spot, someone came to the company at 8:00 a.m. Pengchao reporters saw that ofos office is located on the fifth floor of the building, and staff set up checkpoints on the first floor, putting about 15 people into the elevator at a time, the process is slow. ?
Around 14 p.m., the registered users told the surging journalists, ofo said that the deposit and balance will be returned to Alipay within three days after registration. ?
The ofo deposit is normally refundable. Users can apply on their own at the app end and arrive at the account in 0-15 working days. Users who have applied for refund of deposit more than 15 working days overdue have been registered and will be re-checked. There is no on-site refund of deposit. Offo said.
Although ofo has repeatedly stressed that the deposit is normally refundable, its deposit has actually lasted for nearly two months.
From the end of October, the period of ofo withdrawal has been extended from the initial second to 0-15 working days. Under ofos official microblog, there are more and more messages denouncing deposit refund. There are hundreds or thousands of messages at least.
As for the deposit issue, the ofo side insists that the deposit refund is normal. Owing to the recent update of office address, some ofo servers need to be migrated for a short time, resulting in a temporary extension of the deposit refund cycle, which will return to normal after the completion of related work.
But a large number of users reported on the Internet that they had been refunding their deposit for a month or two.
Obviously, ofo has taken a series of measures to try to retain users.
At the end of November, some users found that when ofo applied for a deposit refund, they were systematically prompted to transfer the deposit to the Internet financial platform. Screenshots released by netizens show that the explanation given by ofo is that 99 yuan deposit users can be upgraded to new users of PPmoney by one button, and 99 yuan deposit can be upgraded to 100 yuan specific assets of PPmoney. In response, the ofo side explained on November 23 that ofo and PPmoney belong to the normal market cooperation, users can choose according to their actual needs after being fully informed of the authorized content, not forced bundling.
On December 4, media reported that the ofo deposit refund button had turned grey and could not be clicked. Ofo responded that the deposit refund button grey is the normal state, is the normal retention user settings, there is no situation that can not be clicked.
Front line contraction
Ofo faces more than a deposit. Since mid-November, it has been reported that the offices of ofo in Zhengzhou, Hangzhou and Nanjing have been empty. Offo said the offices had been vacant two or three months ago, and staff were now working in new offices.
Peng Mei noticed that the first ofo people to go to the building was at the end of September, when there were reports that the office space of ofo in the ideal International Building in Zhongguancun, Beijing, had been emptied. In this regard, the ofo side explained that because the 10 and 11 floors rental period has arrived, moved to other floors. Since then, ofo moved its headquarters to an Internet financial centre 15 minutes away in November.
Some ofo insiders told Pengchao reporters, Before that, our office locations were relatively central and expensive. Now the company is also increasing costs and efficiency, so some cities have moved out of their original office locations.
At the same time, there are also users who report that there are fewer and fewer ofo cars on the street.
Pengchao journalists visited Shanghai urban area and found that compared with the situation of sharing bicycles on Mandao Street in the peak period of 2017, sharing bicycles in the urban area as a whole decreased significantly, but ofo was more obvious.
In view of the phenomenon that there are fewer and fewer ofo cars in all parts of the country, an employee who just left a branch office of one of the first line cities of ofo disclosed that the total amount of shared bicycles in all parts of the country is being controlled at first. For example, the total number of shared bicycles in Xian has dropped from 700,000 at peak time to 500,000 at present; there are 1.2 million at peak time in Shanghai, and now it is estimated to be about 89,000.
Sharing bicycles is like throwing out beads. Users ride in the suburbs. So to ensure that there is a bicycle in the city at any time, they need the invisible hand of operation and maintenance to gather the bicycles together. But now there are fewer and fewer ofos, so people see fewer and fewer cars in the city center. According to the ofo departure staff, there are also many cars that are naturally damaged and seized everywhere. The so-called shared bicycle graveyard you see will lead to fewer and fewer cars.
At present, we do have a lot less operation and maintenance. The above employees told Pengchao News, The ofo situation is well known to the public, it is more difficult, tighten the belt to live, of course, this part of the expenditure has to be cut down a lot. Another reason is that when winter comes, the number of bikers sharing bicycles drops sharply and the number of people operating and maintaining bicycles decreases.
The contraction of the overseas front has already started.
According to available data, ofo has withdrawn or suspended its business from India, Israel, the Middle East, Australia, Germany, the United States, Spain, Japan and other countries and regions since July.
In response, the ofo side said, the focus of overseas strategy is to cultivate key markets and explore the realization of commercial value. We formulate different development plans according to the specific conditions of different markets. For ofos non-key overseas markets, we will launch a proper adjustment plan to minimize the impact.
Since this year, negative news about ofo has been circulated almost every half month.
First, the news that ofo will be acquired dropwise appears frequently. On August 22, online media reported that ofo had finally reached an agreement to sell itself, with the company offering a price of about $2 billion. Afterwards, no comment was given, and the ofo side came forward to refute the rumors.
However, on September 5, it was also reported that ofo would complete the E2-2 round of financing, which amounted to hundreds of millions of dollars, led by Ant Golden Clothes, followed by drops of investment. The response to the news was ambiguous, and ofo, droplets and antsgolden clothes declined to comment.
On September 11, it was reported that ofo had recently received another loan from Ali, amounting to about 60 million yuan, which had nothing to do with financing. In this regard, the ofo side said that the message was false information. Insiders in Ali also responded to the surging journalists that the news was false and there was no borrowing of money.
Despite both denials, on the same day, it was also reported that the 10th day of each month was the salary day of ofo. In order to overcome the difficulty of salary payment smoothly, ofo launched an emergency loan to the Ali side. Due to the delay of the largest shareholder holding the veto power, the loan failed to reach the accounts until the last minute of September 10th. In this regard, drops, ofo have come out to deny.
Without new capital, the contradiction between ofo and suppliers has also begun to emerge.
According to the recently published judgment documents, the contract dispute between Shanghai Branch of Jiali Datong Logistics Co., Ltd. and Dongxia Datong, the main body of ofo operation, was handed down on August 15. The Peoples Court of Haidian District of Beijing decided that Dongxia Datong should pay 811.19 million yuan for its service fee and 86,000 yuan for its overdue interest. World Logistics Technology (China) Co., Ltd. sued Dongxia Datong to Hangzhou Binjiang District Court; at the end of August, Phoenix bicycle filed a lawsuit with the First Intermediate Peoples Court of Beijing for disputes over the sale contract of Dongxia Datong. Up to the date of the lawsuit, Dongxia Datong still owed 6.811 million yuan for the purchase of Phoenix bicycles; before that, ofo also suffered from disputes over the rental contract of housing. Wuhan Guanggu Chuangke Block Management Co., Ltd. sued. According to a judgment made on July 24 this year, the court froze the deposits of 1.29 million yuan of Dongxia Datong Bank in Beijing for a period of one year.
On October 22, when Pengchao journalists inquired about the national enterprise credit information publicity system, they found that Chen Zhengjiang had replaced Dai Wei, the founder of ofo, as the legal representative of Dongxia Datong (Beijing) Management Consulting Co., Ltd. Dongxia Datong (Beijing) Management Consulting Co., Ltd. is the main operator of ofo Xiaohuang Car in China.
For this adjustment, ofo explained that this is to simplify the office process and improve efficiency. Ofo emphasizes that the change of legal representative is only the normal change of personnel within ofo, and the actual controller of the company is Dai wei. There is no abdication theory interpreted by some media.
From prosperity to decline, ofo took a year.
On October 3, 2017, it was reported that Mobai and ofo investors were pushing for the merger of the two largest shared bicycle companies to end their expensive competitive relationship and create a single dominant service company. The combined value of the two companies could exceed $4 billion.
At this time, Mobai and ofo launched 7 million and 10 million vehicles in China respectively.
At that time, the ofo side said to the surging journalists, I dont know, we also saw the news through the network.
Mobai responded, Mobai bicycles will continue to focus on user experience and global expansion, without considering mergers.
A month later, on the evening of November 23, it was reported that the CEO and CFO executives who had been assigned to ofo in July of that year had started taking vacations. It was also considered a symbolic event of the fissure between ofo and management.
It was also at the end of November that the two bicycle companies had tightened their funds and started to embezzle user deposits to fill the gap. The total amount of embezzlement was as high as 6 billion yuan. In response, the two companies urgently refuted rumors.
On December 18, 2017, Dai Wei, speaking at a forum about the merger with Mobai, said, We are also very grateful to capital, because capital has helped the rapid development of enterprises. But I also want to say that I think capital also needs to understand the aspirations and determination of entrepreneurs.
Dai Weis speech is considered to be an open statement that it will develop independently. It is impressive that this is just one year from todays users home registration and deposit refund.
Since then, the situation of ofo has become more and more unoptimistic.
On January 12, 2018, some Internet media reported that only less than 600 million yuan was left in the funds available in the accounts of ofo company. If we calculate the salary and maintenance expenditure of 400-500 million yuan per month and the continuous outflow of deposit, the cash on ofos hand can only support one month. In response, the ofo side said that the order volume of ofo is stable and the flow of funds is very healthy. The allegation that the order volume is declining and the funds are tight in the report is a rumor without any factual basis.
On March 13, ofo finally announced the completion of the E2-1 round of financing of $866 million. Leading by Alibaba, Hanfeng Group, Tianjin joint venture capital, Ant Golden Clothes and Junli Capital jointly invest. Once again set the highest single financing record for the shared bicycle industry. This investment includes the part of the previous mortgage.
Since then, Zhu Xiaohu, one of the earliest investors in ofo, the managing director of Jinshajiang Venture Capital, said in public, There are many things that I think are very clear afterwards. From now on, sharing bicycles may be the only merger opportunity at the end of last year, whether for ofo or Mobai. If the two companies merged last year, the market valuation will be two or three times as much.
Why did so much money throw away shared bicycles in the beginning, because the market was very good in the beginning. But by last year, the market had been saturated, the head city saturation was very obvious, Mobai figures were open, a car only cycled a few times a day, even if a dollar a day, a dollar a day, rent can not make money. Zhu Xiaohu disclosed that at this time, he felt that the company had seen the ceiling.
Zhu Xiaohu also publicly acknowledged for the first time that ofo shares had been emptied. Of course, founders have their own choices and investors should respect the Founderschoices. If you want to continue like this, we can only sell the shares to strategic investors. We are financial investors. Strategic investors demand different things from us.
Ofos desire to survive
On April 4, Wang Xing, the founder of the American Regiment, formally declared the end of the battle for the acquisition of Mobai by an internal letter.
This makes ofo passive and misses the merger with Mobai. Is ofo acquired by drip or Ali or will it continue to develop independently?
On April 24, there were reports that Droplet was pushing forward negotiations to buy ofo. Another source said, If everything goes as planned, the acquisition news will be announced around June.
In response, the ofo side said that the news is not true, ofo will maintain long-term independent development with the support of many investors.
Since then, there has been no interruption in the rumors of the game between ofo, drip and Ali, from once a month in the initial period to once a week in the later period.
But ofo prefers to show its determination to develop independently.
On May 15, the South China Morning Post reported that ofo held an internal meeting. At the meeting, Dewey said that the companys current situation is comparable to Churchills situation in the movie Dark Hour and the situation in Britain during World War II. In the film, Churchill, British Prime Minister during World War II, opposes appeasement policy and tries to compete with the Nazis. He sacrificed part of the British army to buy time for Britain and other allied forces to withdraw from Dunkirk.
If you dont want to fight to the end, you can leave now. But ofo will continue to operate independently in the future. The five founders of ofo will each own one of the nine board members of the company. Dai Wei told the participants.
A person familiar with the matter told Peng Mei that Dai Wei also launched a plan called Victory at the internal meeting, with the aim of bringing ofos profits to RMB 1. The plan borrowed Churchills iconic gesture V to mean victory.
Pengchao reporters noted that after the internal meeting, first Dai Wei rejected the offer, and then ofo launched a series of commercial initiatives.
How long will the company last? This is a problem that even ofos own employees have no bottom line.
On November 14, Dewey appeared at the ofo plenary meeting, which had been held once a month before and had been suspended in recent months.
In the question section, the first question raised by employees is whether the company will be acquired or bankrupt.
Its possible for Dewey to say anything. Its possible for ofo to be acquired and merged, but bankruptcy and reorganization are impossible. Employees told Peng Mei that Dai Wei did not explain why ofo would not go bankrupt.
Some people also reflect that the deposit is difficult to retreat and users are losing. Dai Wei admits that the process of refunding the deposit has become more complicated now, but he also states that the deposit can be refunded, but the cycle has become longer. The employee said that Dewey disclosed that the companys capital situation was much better than before, but it was still difficult.
Dai Wei also mentioned cost reduction and efficiency improvement. He said he regretted it and felt that it was too late to reduce costs and increase efficiency. He should have done it at the beginning of this year. At that time, he felt that the situation would not be so bad in the future. He still had confidence in himself, so he did not make too many changes in personnel and other aspects. The employee recalled that Dai Wei said it would be better if he had made a reverse offer at that time to reduce costs and increase efficiency.
He said in his speech that three or four months ago, he was really frustrated and felt like he could not do it, but he survived. The above employees said.
On November 28, Dai Wei issued an internal letter saying, The so-called crisis is the coexistence of danger and opportunity. Only at the most dangerous time can we really break the kettle and sink to death. When you think its dangerous, then danger has come, and when you think its opportunity, then opportunity is coming! uuuuuuuuuu
I wonder if there will be a turnaround for ofo this time.