Mobike founder Hu Weiwei quits chief executive role at China’s leading bike-sharing firm
- Self-made billionaire issues public letter denying any infighting, while company says she is leaving for personal reasons
Hu Weiwei, a co-founder of China’s leading bike-sharing firm Mobike, has resigned as chief executive for “personal reasons”, the company said on Sunday.
Hu’s resignation came at a time when China’s bike-sharing business, once regarded as a poster child of China’s online economy, has suffered a number of major blows.
Ofo, a major competitor to Mobike, is in crisis after nearly 12 million users demanded that the firm refund their deposits.
Hu co-founded Mobike in 2015 and grew it into a billion-dollar business within just two years.
Mobike was sold for US$2.7 billion to Meituan-Dianping, China’s largest food delivery service, in April.
It has not been disclosed how much Hu made from the deal, but she agreed to stay at the company.
Hu issued a letter to all Mobike employees on Sunday, announcing her resignation from the position. The letter, which the company confirmed was authentic, was quickly uploaded to China’s major websites and social media accounts.
In the letter, the 36-year-old entrepreneur wrote that she has completed her mission at Mobike and had decided to move on, but did not say what her next role would be.
Liu Yu, the current president of Mobike, will succeed her as chief executive.
She said that as a co-founder of the company she loved it like a mother, but continued that a loving parent should let her child “grow freely when the timing is right, and I think it’s the right time now to let it go”.
She also stressed that she had left of her own volition, adding: “I have to make it clear here that there was no infighting, no disharmony and no organisational entanglement”.
The letter concluded: “Thanks everyone, thanks Mobike, thanks to Meituan.”
The farewell letter by Hu, who had worked for 10 years as a journalist before she started her first venture in 2014, triggered an outpouring of good wishes and admiration by social media users, many of whom see her as an inspiration from young tech entrepreneurs.
“You led the boom of an industry, and you cashed out at the industry’s peak … now you decided to leave when the downturn started – you are the true winner,” one user commented on Weibo.
Mobike issued a statement saying Hu would continue to “walk along shoulder-by-shoulder” with the firm she co-founded and said it would continue to focus on bringing bikes to urban ecosystems.
Wang Xing, the chief executive of Meituan-Dianping and the chairman of Mobike, said in the statement that they thanked Hu for creating Mobike and hoped to see further “great achievements” from Hu.
The bike-sharing industry’s recent woes have contributed to the fall from grace of Ofo’s founder, Dai Wei – who until recently was upheld as another role model for entrepreneurs.
Earlier this month a local court in Beijing put Dai, the company’s chief executive, on a blacklist for failing to repay his debts.
The ruling said he must refrain from incurring excessive business expenses, including playing golf, flying business class, or staying in luxury hotels.