A civil suit from a supplier has once again highlighted bike-rental startup Ofo’s plight, with a Tianjin court recently freezing RMB 1.45 million (about $220,000) of its assets. The order was released on February 23 against Beijing Baike Luoke Technology, Ofo’s domestically-registered operator, Beijing Business Today reported (in Chinese). The report cites data from Chinese business intelligence platform Tianyancha.com.
Just last week, TechNode reported that recently uploaded court verdicts show that Ofo’s offshore-registered operator Dongxia Datong Management and Consulting owed two suppliers close to RMB 150 million (around $22 million) as of last November. Over the past two months Dongxia has also failed to pay legal fines for 48 cases of payment default, according to the website Qichacha.com.
The February decision against Baike Luoke came from yet another supplier, Tianjin Kelin Bicycle Co., Ltd. Tianyancha records show that Kelin first applied for the case on January 20, 2018. The judgment was delivered on Saturday, immediately freezing RMB 1.45 million in bank funds or property of equivalent value belonging to the Ofo operator. Baike Luoke can apply for reconsideration within five days of the ruling, although its assets will remain frozen until the request is approved.
As of Monday, the verdict had not yet been uploaded to an official national online database for court judgments. Ofo could not be reached for comment on this article.
While Ofo’s legal troubles continue to pile up, millions of users are reportedly still waiting for their deposits of RMB 99-199 to be returned. Once a leader in the bike rental field, Ofo began withdrawing from its ambitious overseas operations last year due to a cash crunch. In December 2018, CEO Dai Wei was also placed on a government blacklist for defaulting on debts. Subsequent rumors that potential investors such as Didi planned cash injections have since been shot down.
Ofo’s former main rival Mobike, meanwhile, was bought up by online services titan Meituan Dianping in April 2018, and will be rebranded as Meituan Bike according to a January announcement. Co-founder Hu Weiwei stepped down from her position as CEO last December, reportedly saying that she had “fulfilled” her mission.