Bike-sharing, the year’s hottest startup trend in China and beyond, looks like it is about to see the biggest casualty of its cut-throat competition.
Bluegogo, which had raised $90 million from investors and operates around 700,000 bikes across China, seems headed for the deadpool after Technode, our Chinese partner site, reported that the company has lost a slew of top executives and is now preventing users from withdrawing their 100 RMB ($15) deposit due to financial issues.
Things are so bad, Technode said, that the company is in the process of dissolving and all salary payments to employees have been delayed until February 2018. Staff have reportedly already waited months without being paid, and the website is no longer online.
In yet another bad sign: the CEO is said to be ‘somewhere overseas.’
From the now defunct website
Bluegogo is some way behind billion-dollar startups Mobike and Ofo, which have been backed by huge firms like Tencent and Alibaba and are in talks over a potential merger, but it does have a major China presence and it did make an effort to expand to San Francisco. That global plan collapsed, however, due to issues with local regulation.
Mobike and Ofo, meanwhile, are in the process of ambitions expansion plans aimed at taking their services to more than 200 cities across North America, China and Europe. This tale is a reminder of their dominance at home and what it takes to even just compete at this point.