Crowds of people descend on the Coolqi bike hire scheme’s head office in Tongzhou to get their deposits back as Coolqi founder and CEO Gao Weiwei (高唯伟) tells our sister site that the company is not bankrupt, but that he has been removed as CEO (in Chinese). The company’s WeChat payments have been frozen and it is seeking the guidance and support of the government while it is talking with another company for a potential RMB 1 billion acquisition.

Coolqi (酷骑单车, literally “cool ride bike” in English) was at one point the number three hire bike company and brought us the bold gold model earlier this year to great fanfare (and mockery). It received RMB 900 million in investment, has 1.5 million registered users and 1.4 million bikes in use across China.

However, a blog, 北京人不知道的北京事儿 (which translates as The Beijing Things Beijingers Don’t Know), posted pictures of near-deserted offices said to be the Tongzhou headquarters just outside of Beijing and a crowd of people who are apparently trying to get their money back or are there on behalf of friends. The deposit is RMB 299. According to other local media, large crowds had gathered outside by yesterday evening.

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Frank Hersey

Frank Hersey is a Beijing-based tech reporter who's been coming to China since 2001. He tries to go beyond the headlines to explain the context and impact of developments in China's tech sector. Get in...