Missed bus

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For years the State Council has been encouraging private-sector capital to invest more in technology and innovation. Investors might have thought they were following this diktat by pouring cash into Qinhuangdao’s Transit Explore Bus (TEB) project, a futuristic road-straddling bus able to glide over traffic jams (it is elevated meaning cars can drive beneath it).

TEB had its inaugural run early this month. Even though it only travelled on 300 metres of test track, the trial was widely reported in state media as well as by the foreign press.

But following the fanfare, local experts began to question its feasibility. The Global Times said it would be difficult to power TEB with electricity. Meanwhile, others speculated it may worsen Qinhuangdao’s already congested traffic system if the roads are to be covered with a network of TEB track.

Worse still, Beijing News reported that TEB is actually run by Beijing-based peer-to-peer financing firm Huaying Kailai. And it remains unclear if the P2P firm actually has the local government’s support. Now investors in the project have begun to panic and demand their money back after various media outlets suggested Huaying could have raised funds illegally.

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