SINGAPORE, March 15 — Bike-sharing operator Ofo has been granted yet another extension to remove its bicycles from public spaces, after its headquarters in China told the Land Transport Authority (LTA) that the firm is looking at a tie-up with a possible partner.
In response to media queries a day after the deadline lapsed for Ofo to remove its fleet, the LTA said yesterday: “Ofo has requested more time to remove its bicycles from public places, as Ofo headquarters has informed the LTA that it is in advanced stages of negotiations to partner Ofo Singapore with another party.”
It did not name the potential partner.
The authority said that Ofo has “shown progress in implementing the QR code system” since Feb 14.
Ofo’s licence is suspended for now.
LTA had given the operator up until March 13 to remove all of its bicycles from public places, failing which its licence would be cancelled. Once its licence is cancelled, Ofo will not be able to operate here.
Yesterday, LTA did not specify a final date for Ofo to comply with regulatory requirements. It said that during the extension, Ofo’s licence will continue to be suspended.
The extension granted to Ofo comes two days after Chinese firm Mobike applied to the authorities to withdraw from the Singapore market. Mobike said that it is pulling out of some Asian countries and re-evaluating its overseas operations, given the ongoing wide-scale contraction in the market.
The developments mean that only SG Bike and AnyWheel, which is operating under a sandbox licence, are viable operators here presently.
TODAY has approached the two parties, and AnyWheel replied that it is not in negotiations with Ofo.
LTA said that if Ofo “eventually does not fully comply with the licence requirements”, it will cancel Ofo’s bicycle-sharing licence and will require the firm to remove all bicycles from public places.
Backed by conglomerate Alibaba Group, China-based Ofo has been battling cash flow problems, with close to 12 million customers in China reportedly demanding refunds of their deposits. — TODAY
Source: The Malay Mail Online