People might be familiar with the ongoing economic bubble of bike sharing in China. In Beijing, these sharing bikes can be seen around the city, stacked in piles and blocking the sidewalk - and their numbers are still on the rise.
However, smaller companies are already fading away from the ferocious competition in the capital, with some loaded with serious financial problems, or worse.
Cool Qi Bike, once the third most popular bike-sharing companies in China, has reportedly encountered huge turnover problems, with many users complaining that they couldn't get their deposit back through the mobile app.
After more and more complaints appeared online, angry customers stormed Cool Qi's headquarters in Beijing's Tongzhou District, demanding a refund of 298 yuan. Most of the employees were already gone, and the company's other offices across China were also empty.
The company, which caught public's attention this June by introducing eye-catching products such as rainbow-colored bikes and 'tacky gold' bikes, released a statement on their official Weibo account on Thursday.
In the statement, the company said they are in serious difficulty with their business operations, including WeChat closing down their mobile payment portals, which led to a deposit of 40 million yuan being blocked.
It also announced that the company's CEO, Gao Weiwei, was sacked due to "lack of management skills." Gao was also reported to be the CEO of another online lending app, Xinchengdai Investment.
Cool Qi was once regarded as China's third most popular shared bike app, reportedly owning some 1.4 million bicycles in major cities around the country.
If Cool Qi is unable to secure an acquisition deal, it could soon be the latest and largest downfall in China's bike sharing bubble.