Editor’s note: This article is from Krypton 36 “Future Automotive Daily” (micro-channel public number ID: auto-time), Author: Jiaoman Ting.
Little yellow car parked on the street in the past Source: ofo WeChat public account
Author | Jiao Manting
Edit | Wu Yan
Ofo’s yellow car, which was once spreading on the streets and lanes, is gradually “illusion” into an e-commerce platform.
On January 29, when the whole nation was concerned about the progress of the new crown pneumonia epidemic, ofo quietly launched a new version 4.0.In the new version of the app, the deposit has become a “balance”. If you want to withdraw cash, you must use “rebate for shopping”.To the extent that some users complained in the comments that refunds of deposits cost thousands of dollars, “how can there be such a truth in the world?”
The long-lost bike-sharing giant seems to be struggling to save itself.
“Ofo’s off-line vehicles are probably gone now, and the core assets are online apps and users.” A former senior official of ofo told Future Auto Daily (ID: auto-time).”As for Ofo’s way out, to be honest, I have no cure for it. However, it is not appropriate for the new version to go online quietly, and it will be interpreted in other strange directions. It is better to come out and explain why,What benefits does the user have. ”
Another former executive regarded the transformation of ofo’s e-commerce platform as an “active act of survival”, “to keep the company alive, so ofo has not yet gone bankrupt and liquidated, so as to return the deposit to the people as soon as possible.
But users who have been late in returning their deposits have gradually lost their patience.In the Apple App Store, ofo was installed 400 million times, but the score was as low as 2.5 points.Some even called it “unscrupulous to the extreme” in recent comments.
User who left a message on the Xiaohuangche App on February 4th: Apple’s app store ofo Xiaohuangche App page
Life of the line ofo, where to go from here?
Deposit becomes the balance
From “everywhere and anywhere to ride a car”, “easy when riding” to “rebate across the entire network, save money on shopping”, the slogan on the homepage of ofo Xiaohuang App has witnessed its transformation and ups and downs.
Even the name of the official app has quietly become “ofo money back”.
According to the official introduction, ofo cashback is an e-commerce shopping guide platform, which has four functions: easier riding, cashback on shopping, cash deposits, and invitations to make money.
Open the App home page, Tmall New Year Festival, Taobao, Jingdong, 9.9 yuan specials and other information flooded the eyes, the navigation bar is subdivided into food and beverage, household appliances, beauty skin care, cleaning paper products, etc., as many as 31 categories.At the bottom of the page, “Make Money” and “Get Money” are separate columns.This means that the “old bank” of code scanning cars has been greatly weakened.
In order to attract users, ofo advertises the lowest price on the entire network, and most products can use coupons.A men’s down jacket with an original price of 1158 yuan, users can use a 1,000 yuan coupon, after the discount price of 158 yuan.
In addition, ofo also launched an “invite friends, you get cash” campaign.After the friend accepts the invitation, both parties can get a cash red envelope of 2-4 yuan; if the friend successfully purchases, the inviter can get a reward of up to 40% of the purchase amount per order.
The money back function that most dissatisfied old users was criticized as “full of routines.”
According to ofo’s previous introduction, users who use the “rebate” function mean to automatically abandon the queuing refund deposit, ofo will transfer the user’s deposit to the “ofo rebate” account and cannot purchase any products.The user can only rebate through shopping, and the deposit is refunded to the user in the form of cashback, that is, whenever the rebate amount reaches 20 yuan, the user can withdraw 20 yuan.
Future Car Daily (ID: auto-time) noticed that currently there are no rebates on the homepage of ofo’s App.This means that users who want to return a deposit of 99 yuan or 199 yuan cannot calculate the rebate amount in advance.Future Auto Daily (ID: auto-time) concluded through random calculations that if you want to get back a 199 yuan deposit, you need to spend 4800 yuan first.
4.0 version ofo small yellow car App homepage source: ofo App screenshot
Every detail shows that ofo has completely “reduced” to an e-commerce platform.
Explore the “survival” road
Back to 3 years ago, ofo, known as the “shared bike creator and frontrunner”, was once glorious.
In June 2017, the number of Xiaohuang vehicles reached 6 million, spread across 100 cities in 4 countries, and provided more than 1 billion cycling services to users worldwide.Capital also favors it.From October 2016 to mid-2017, ofo completed four rounds of financing and received more than $ 1 billion in funding.
At that time, ofo, which had a lot of innovations in the field of bicycle sharing, seemed to be one of the most popular star startups.
In the 2.0 version of the app, ofo optimized the repair process of the faulty bicycle, and also first introduced the function of uploading photos. The download of the app once exceeded Meituan Takeaway and Sogou.In addition, ofo also connected to the Ministry of Public Security information release platform for missing children, and established a bicycle sharing professional committee to try to find more possibilities around the bicycle sharing business.
Operation and maintenance personnel who cleaned the car ofof Source: ofo WeChat public account
But soon, ofo has not been able to find a profit model of the situation, the situation took a drastic turn.
In June 2018, ofo was exposed to misappropriation of user deposits or over 10 billion yuan.In December of that year, at the headquarters of OFO’s Zhongguancun Internet Finance Center in Beijing, users lined up a hundred meters long, and the deposit run-up crisis officially broke out.
In desperation, ofo gradually opened the “transformation” road, trying to achieve a Jedi counterattack.
Ofo’s founder Dawei’s first choice was to move to betting on blockchain.In April 2018, ofo cooperated with GSELab to launch the cycling mining function: as long as you ride a small yellow car, you can get GSE coins.In the future, users can also use these tokens to exchange passes or exchange other currencies in the cryptocurrency market.
At that time, the project was called “the first public chain of the sharing economy”, and some investors said that Li Lin, founder of Huobi Group and Xu Mingxing, founder of OK Group, participated in the investment.According to industry media “One Book Blockchain”, through GSE, Ofo raised over 100 million yuan in funding in 2018.
However, star projects have not brought good luck to investors.In 2019, after the currency price dropped 99.8% from its highest point, the market value of GSE has been less than 1 million US dollars, and where the financing of GSE went has become an unsolved mystery.
However, the above statement was denied by ofo.On December 17, 2019, ofo issued a statement saying that it had never participated in the issuance of virtual currencies, and ofo and GSE Lab were only a cooperative relationship. “As the overseas business of ofo shrinks in 2018, the cooperation with GSE Lab will soon terminate..
Another tuyere project that Ofo is following is a short video.In August 2018, ofo launched the short-video advertising business “Audio-Visual Storm” in the App.At that time, ofo ’s “Audiovisual Storm” national solo broadcasts were quoted at 1.75 million yuan per day, with a discounted price of 750,000 yuan, with a known exposure of 15 million, which could be distributed nationwide, targeted regionally, and one-third in rotation.
Relevant person inof said that after the launch of the innovative advertising model of “short video ads + bike sharing”, business orders rose by 400%.However, because of the need to watch the video ad for 5 seconds before unlocking, this move was spit out by netizens, and then quietly offline.
In November 2018, ofo also cooperated with P2P financial platform PP money. Involving P2P finance, a 99 yuan deposit can be upgraded to a 100 yuan PP money specific asset (including a 30-day fund lock-up period) with one click. After the upgrade, users canAchieve permanent deposit-free cycling.However, due to a large number of users questioning their sale of personal information to Thunderstorm P2P platform, the campaign was soon terminated.
Another “survival” road that has never been abandoned is to take promotional orders on WeChat service numbers in an attempt to realize the realization of traffic.
In November 2018, ofo published an article “A person who has been drinking honey for a long time?”, For the” three no “honey campaign.In less than two hours, the number of tweets exceeded 100,000.In 2019, ofo WeChat public account not only helped English tutoring agencies advertise, but also sold a variety of fruits for fruit farmers.An internal plan obtained by Sina Technology shows that ofo public account claims to have 25 million fans, can put soft text, the lowest offer is 480,000 yuan.
The problem is that after exploring many ways to make money, ofo still failed to pay the deposit owed to the user.
Run out of food
Within 10 days from the beginning of 2020, OFO’s operating entities will add another 9 pieces of information about the person to be executed, with a cumulative execution target of up to 10.09 million yuan.Among them, deposit users and suppliers are debt collection entities.
In mid-2019, Global.net quoted employees from ofo as saying that the number of people waiting in line for refund of deposits has exceeded 16 million, and the total amount of deposits to be refunded is 1.584 billion yuan to 3.184 billion yuan, with an average daily return of 3,500 people.According to statistics from Tencent News, at the current rate of OFO’s refund deposit, it will take 82 years to fully refund the deposit.
On February 4th, the Sina Weibo blogger “Ofo Little Yellow Cars Refunded the Deposit Today” updated the latest situation, saying that ofo Little Yellow Cars had a daily refund of 600 deposits, and an average of 400-600 daily surrenders.
Ofo, who was “collected by the user”, was also involved in lawsuits and was repeatedly sued by suppliers.
In January 2019, ofo was brought to court by a SFW complaint, stating that it was in arrears in transportation costs.To this end, SF applied to the court to freeze OFO Xiaohuangche’s deposit in the China Merchants Bank account for 13.75 million yuan.In the same month, Shanghai Phoenix Bicycle applied for compulsory execution and required ofo to pay 68.211 million yuan in payment.Three bicycle companies, including Tianjin Flying Pigeon, Tianjin Kelin, and Tianjin Fujita, were also involved in ofo’s debt crisis. They were in default on payment and default of 80.5 million yuan, 1.45 million yuan, and 250 million yuan.
A supplier once revealed in an interview with Caijing Magazine that as of the end of 2017, ofo had successively extended the account period, first from 1 month to 3 months and then half a year..
In June 2019, the court found during the execution of the case that Ofo’s operating entity, Dongxia Chase, no longer had any executable property.Not only are there no real estate, land, vehicles and foreign investment, even bank accounts have been frozen or have no balance.This means that ofo has become an empty shell.
“Don’t run away, live bravely, and be responsible for every penny we owe.” Dave once said in the face of a margin run.He said that in order to refund user deposits, pay suppliers, and maintain the company’s operations, “one yuan will cost three yuan.”
But now, Dawei disappeared from the public view for nearly a year, ofo quietly changed office location, Xiaohuang car was on the verge of sudden death.Ofo, who had hoped that “the world has no strange corners,” can make a comeback in the form of a shopping platform?