Why Did Ofo Fail? What Should They Have Done? (Jeff’s Asia Tech Class 8)

In this class, we discuss Chinese bike-sharing company Ofo. And their spectacular rise and fall.

You can listen here or at iTunes here.

The exercise for this class is:

What should Ofo have done?

1) Partner with a major digital platform ASAP. No matter what it takes.

2) Copy Hellobike. Avoid the competition. Go to markets or segments with little competition and try to get to operating break-even.

3) Split the company into a good co and bad co. Fund the good company and don’t tie it to the cash drain of the bad co.

4) Carl Icahn option. Go activist investor and try to split the company, replace management or other.

What would you recommend to the CEO?

  • Write 3 paragraphs with your answer. Do it on your smartphone. Or a PC. Or a piece of paper (take a picture and save it).
  • Think about bundling and the emergence of greater ecosystems.

Here is the McKinsey & Co slide cited:

Articles / podcasts cited in this class:

Concepts for this class:

  • Money Wars
  • Ecosystems
  • Bundling
  • Willingness to Pay and Consumer Surplus

Companies for this class:

  • Ofo
  • Mobike / Meituan
  • Hellobike / Alibaba


I write and speak about digital China and Asia’s latest tech trends.

Please join my executive education course on China’s tech leaders and Asian digital competition. There is a 30-day free trial.

  • This online class offers:
    • A weekly lecture you can listen to as a podcast at the gym or in the car or wherever.
    • A weekly article with more in-depth material.
    • 2-3 weekly updates on what’s happening digital China / Asia.
  • This class requires only 90 minutes per week which can be done mostly via a podcast available at iTunes and Himalaya (soon).

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