LiveJournal post alleges troubling details regarding oBike, founder Shi Yi responds via LinkedIn

Photo: Coconuts Media
Photo: Coconuts Media

oBike founder Shi Yi, currently at the center of a maelstrom surrounding the shutdown of the bike-sharing service, took to LinkedIn on Sunday to dismiss anonymous accusations made against him in a post on blogging platform LiveJournal that has since gone viral.

The 29-year-old, Shanghai-born multimillionaire defended himself against what he termed “fake news” circulating on social media that has delved into alleged past business dealings while framing him in decidedly less-than-positive terms.

In a LiveJournal post published Saturday under the handle “obikerefund,” Shi Yi was accused of “making use of Singapore and its clean reputation to form a base to make quick and big money using highly dubious means.”

Using screenshots of information ostensibly taken from publicly available sources, as well as text messages between Shi Yi and his former partners, and an article from venture capital news publication Pencil News, the LiveJournal post sets about building the case that oBike was a doomed venture from the start.

These records, the source of which could not immediately be verified by Coconuts Singapore, indicate that Shi Yi hoped to raise money for oBike by launching a cryptocurrency venture called OCN.

In a March interview with Pencil News, Sun Guofeng, identified as a former partner who fell out with Shi Yi, alleged that the oBike founder hyped the cryptocurrency in the media, which in turn attracted funds from outside investors. When the value of OCN reached a high point, Shi Yi allegedly withdrew millions of dollars from the venture and walked away without investing the money back into oBike.

In his LinkedIn rebuttal, Shi Yi maintained that oBike Singapore’s shut down was strictly “due to economics,” adding that the decision was jointly made by all company shareholders. He did not, however, address the alleged cryptocurrency dealings.

Pointing to a legal document from a Beijing law firm, the LiveJournal post also claims that Shi Yi’s maternal grandmother and grandfather were the actual directors and owners of Avazu Holdings, the digital advertising company that has earned him millions in profits.

This, according to Shi Yi, is false.

“Avazu was founded by me (solely), my grandparents are 80+ and can’t even handle computers,” he wrote.

The oBike founder also brushed off insinuations that the company will be absconding with its users’ deposits. Thousands of Singaporean oBike users paid deposits ranging from $19 to $49 in order to use the shared bikes to ensure “responsibility while using (their) service.” So far, most have been finding it extremely difficult to get their deposits returned.

“oBike has no intention or need to run away with deposit, instead the company is proactively looking for a solution with the related parties,” Shi Yi wrote.

In an interview with The Straits Times and Lianhe Zaobao, the entrepreneur reaffirmed his promise to return the deposits to former oBike users.

In the latest episode in the oBike saga, the company issued an apology on Sunday and said it was working on a plan to get refunds back to its former customers. They are also said to be working on collecting the 14,000 bicycles that are currently abandoned all over the island in the wake of their closure.

We’ve contacted oBike for their comments on this matter.

Editor’s Note: This article has been amended to reflect new information provided by Shi Yi’s public statement.

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