March 11, 2019 / 7:04 AM / in 12 days

China's Mobike to pull out of some Asian countries, evaluate other markets

FILE PHOTO: A man rides a tricycle transporting Mobike shared bikes near Wangfujing Street, a pedestrianised shopping area, in Beijing, China October 15, 2018. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese dockless bike-sharing company Mobike said on Monday it will pull out of some Asian countries and re-evaluate its units in other overseas markets amid a wide-scale contraction in the market and the bankruptcy of top competitor Ofo.

The Beijing-based firm, which is backed by Tencent Holdings Ltd, has launched its signature orange bikes in markets including Australia, Europe and the United States.

The company said it will layoff at least 10 staff as part of its restructuring plan.

“We are currently seeking to optimize our international business. On that principle, Mobike will close in some countries in Asia ... At the same time, we will continue to evaluate other countries and regions,” the company said.

TechCrunch earlier reported that Mobike laid off its Asia Pacific operations team, including staff and contractors in Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, India and Australia.

The move comes as China’s bike-sharing industry - which once included multiple firms valued at over $1 billion each - is experiencing a sharp downturn, forcing several closures and acquisitions after years of breakneck growth.

Mobike was acquired by Beijing-based on-demand services company Meituan Dianping for $2.7 billion last April.

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd-backed Ofo, once Mobike’s top competitor, announced last year that it would consider applying for bankruptcy, leaving millions of customers demanding the return of their deposits.

Reporting by Cate Cadell, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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