Tink Labs, which provides hotel guests with smartphones to use for free, is terminating its services in several markets following the cessation of operations. The Hong Kong-based company on Wednesday informed hotels in certain markets, such as Morocco and Thailand, that it will no longer be providing its Handy smartphone services and that mobile services to the handsets will be terminated within hours. Handy is a smartphone service operated by Tink Labs that equipped hotels globally with handsets in their rooms for guests to use, and at one point had its devices in over 82 countries and 600,000 hotel rooms. The company became one of Hong Kong’s few start-ups to have commanded a valuation of more than US$1 billion. Established in 2012, Tink Labs was founded by its chief executive, Terence Kwok, and attracted investors including Lee Kai-fu’s Sinovation Ventures, Meitu founder and chairman Cai Wensheng and Foxconn subsidiary FIH Mobile. Since its inception, Tink Labs has raised US$160 million in funding from investors, and a TechCrunch report last November quoted sources stating that the firm was planning to raise a fresh US$300 million round of funding. Hong Kong start-up Tink Labs nabs US$125m funding to fuel global expansion The company had also previously announced to employees internally on July 11 that certain markets, such as China, Denmark, Indonesia, Philippines and South Africa, among others, will cease to have Handy services. “We recently wrote to notify you that, due to operational changes, Tink Labs will no longer be supplying or servicing Handy smartphone devices in your geography,” read the email sent out to Thailand and Moroccan hotel clients on Wednesday and Thursday. “We can now confirm that cellular service to these devices will be terminated over the next 6-12 hours.” Handy, however, will continue to operate in its home market of Hong Kong, Singapore, as well as for some hotels in the UK, according to emails and internal documents reviewed by the Post . When a Post reporter called several Hong Kong hotels that advertised Handy services on their website, front desk staff confirmed that the hotels were still providing such a service to guests. Hotels in Hong Kong and Singapore were informed that their contracts with Tink Labs were being reassigned to a separate entity, Blockone Limited, and that in the process of transferring the responsibility, “cellular connectivity will cease being provided over the next 12 hours”. The new entity, Blockone, will also cease to provide its Handy devices to certain hotels in Hong Kong for free. “There are options available if you would like to continue to offer your guests Handy, including paid subscriptions and tailored “revenue neutral” agreements, according to an email to a boutique hotel in Hong Kong. Chinese economy resilient thanks to its diversity, says top tech venture capitalist The relationship between Blockone Limited and Tink Labs is currently unclear. Kwok told the Post that he “cannot comment on speculation”, but confirmed that Tink Labs is “going through restructures”. In early July, Tink Labs informed employees that operations would cease August 1, according to multiple sources who asked not to be named as the information is private. In a global conference call across offices on July 2, chief executive Kwok informed employees that as the company split into two different entities as part of a restructuring, all employment contracts would cease at the end of July. Employees received letters on the same day informing them of their termination of employment. “The two new organisations, two new entities that have the assets and the IP [of Tink Labs] will also require a majority of you guys to join their entities to continue the business,” Kwok said to employees, in a recording of the conference call reviewed by the Post . “We will ensure that all existing employees impacted by these changes receive contractual payments, and any redundancy payments due under the laws of the country they’re employed in,” Kwok said. “You’ll also be released from any non-compete clauses in your contracts.” Subsequently, several employees received emailed offers from either Blockone or another entity called GS Holdings Limited, outlining their new role and remuneration package as of August 2, as well as informing employees that there will be a one-on-one meeting to answer any questions employees may have. However, many of these email offers did not materialise into actual employment contracts, according to at least two employees who were on the receiving end of the offers. As of August 1, over 100 Tink Lab employees across its offices in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) did not receive their salaries for July, according to multiple employees whose employment ceased on Thursday. Employees in Tink Lab’s Taiwan office have also not been paid. Salaries however were paid out to several offices in Asia-Pacific, including Hong Kong, although employees were not remunerated for outstanding annual leave days and expenses. Employees in London, the second-largest Tink Labs office after the headquarters in Hong Kong, were informed by Kwok via email that their payroll would be rescheduled for 31 July, five days after pay was due, on the last Friday of the month. However, as of August 1, London employees failed to receive their payroll for the month, with emails sent to Kwok and other members of the management team going unanswered. Kwok told the Post that Tink Labs is “working on satisfying its obligations”, but declined to clarify further when asked if employees in EMEA would be paid. For more insights into China technology, be part of our Inside China Tech group on Facebook . Listen to our Inside China Tech podcast and subscribe via iTunes , Spotify or Stitcher . For a comprehensive survey of China’s digital landscape, download the 2019 China Internet Report .