Bike rental firm ofo has asked its staff that formed part of its Indian operations to leave, a move that further draws attention to the company’s rumored cash crunch. Individuals with knowledge of the matter told TechNode that the company is winding down operations in the region and that most of the company’s staff have been laid off.

In June, a member of ofo’s senior management informed local managers that he would be visiting to discuss the company’s roadmap in the region. He instructed employees to retrieve the company’s bicycles under the pretense that the company would be starting to charge for trips, which were free during its first few months of operation. However, employees were then informed that they would be required to leave.

Ofo has now stopped operating in all cities but Pune, in the western state of Maharashtra. The company launched its city operations in the region in April. ofo promised that it would provide staff, the majority of whom were employed as consultants, with official offer letters. It also said employees would be shown an operational roadmap for the next few years. These didn’t materialize, and individuals were not given the option to relocate to other areas in which the company operates after they were fired.

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Chris Udemans

Christopher Udemans is a Shanghai-based data and graphics reporter. He covers Chinese artificial intelligence, mobility, and cybersecurity. You can contact him at chrisudemans [at] technode [dot] com.