ofo co-founder Yu Xin has denied allegations that it is laying off 50% of its employees and its chief operating officer (COO) is leaving the company, our sister site is reporting. Yu responded to the assertions on WeChat Moments, saying that headhunters would probably be disappointed as the company’s COO had not left.
The denial comes in the wake of reports claiming that the company is short of money and it would be closing its international business following the departure of COO Zhang Yanqi. However, Yu said that the company’s overseas business was profitable, citing its operation in Singapore as an example.
Nonetheless, additional reports claim the number of layoffs will be the highest in ofo’s history. Moreover, they claimed that senior vice president Nan Nan and public relations director Yang Xun had left the company.
ofo recently started selling advertising on its bicycles and in its apps, attempting to boost revenue amid increasing cash strain. Talk of the company’s cash problems has made news in the past few months. People close to the matter said that the company has paid off just 20% of its RMB 3 billion debt. ofo also mortgaged its bicycles for a RMB 1.77 billion loan from Alibaba.
In May, the company cut its orders on new bicycles to 80 thousand from 5 million, causing renewed speculation about its finances. The company responded by saying that some cities had placed a ban on the addition of new bikes. It said there would be more room for additional bikes in future as its existing fleet gets replaced.