Bike-sharing feud: Ofo sues Momo over corruption allegations – China’s latest business and technology news

Business & Technology

A summary of the top news in Chinese business and technology for May 24, 2017. Part of the daily SupChina news roundup "Gay marriage to be legal in Taiwan."

Ofo, China’s second-biggest bike-sharing startup after Mobike, filed a defamation lawsuit (in Chinese) in Beijing against Momo, a popular Chinese instant messaging app, as well as tech news website Kejixun. The suit claims that both companies engaged in malicious fabrication of rumors about corruption at Ofo. Then indictment filed by Ofo stated that an anonymous post published on Momo claiming that there was corruption inside Ofo had damaged the company’s reputation. The indictment also says that Kejixun published and shared a number of articles that viciously maligned Ofo and its founder, Dai Wei, based on nonfactual information. Ofo requested that Momo and Kejixun delete the articles in question, identify their author, issue an apology statement, and pay damages of more than 1,000,000 yuan ($142,800). A Beijing court has accepted the case.

The incident followed a similar lawsuit (in Chinese) filed by Mobike over corruption allegations against Zhihu, a Chinese question-and-answer website similar to Quora, last week. Hu Weihui 胡玮炜, founder of Mobike, said that an anonymous article published by Zhihu, which claimed there was corruption inside Mobike, was a “personal attack” on her and the management team. WeChat’s parent company, Tencent, has invested in both Zhihu and Mobike.

On Weibo, while some netizens supported Ofo’s act of “protecting its rights against rumors,” many others used social media posts about the news to complain about the quality of Ofo’s yellow bikes. One commenter said (in Chinese): “The yellow bikes are much lighter to ride than Mobike. But the vandalism rates are too high. People remove their QR codes and license plates, or they get locked or vandalized by someone. It takes a while to find a rideable bike.”