Hours after releasing a statement Thursday afternoon Beijing time that it will be the first car company in China to accept Bitcoin payments, GAC NIO has apologized for it.
The company said on Weibo it had been following China's central bank's pilot of digital RMB and was pushing for preparations related to digital currency payments. But today's statement failed to take into account financial regulatory clearances, for which it apologized.
Here is the translated full text of its statement:
GAC NIO has been following the central bank's policies related to the piloting of digital currency, and has been promoting preparations for digital currency internally.
We apologize for being the first automotive company to accept digital currency purchases without fully considering and obtaining financial regulatory permission, which has caused public concern.
We have conducted a rigorous internal self-correction and will seriously deal with those responsible. We sincerely ask the community to monitor and correct our work.
Earlier today, GAC NIO announced on Weibo that it will accept Bitcoin payments for car purchases, the first of its kind in China.
However, the company quickly changed the wording of "Bitcoin" to "digital currency. It said it became the first car company in China to accept digital currency for car purchases.
Half an hour after the company stands in the spotlight for the announcement, it deleted the Weibo post. The company said it will add new digital currency payment channels in the future depending on the actual situation.
NIO was quick to clear its name from the matter, saying on Weibo that NIO has never had any program in allowing Bitcoin for car purchases.
The move by GAC NIO looks more like a publicity stunt in the wake of Bitcoin's 300% jump this year.
This is not the first time GAC NIO apologizes for its publicity.
In October this year, the company publicly promised to pay for the entire vehicle if the battery caught fire without notifying CATL, the battery supplier. The company also advocated at the time that car companies using CATL batteries should follow suit.
However, due to the nature of ternary lithium batteries, which are prone to thermal runaway, GAC NIO's promise caused a lot of controversy.
Shortly after the promise was issued, GAC NIO issued an apology statement, saying that it should not have rashly initiated all auto companies using new energy batteries in the industry to jointly promise to fully compensate for the whole vehicle without thorough consideration.
The previous promise of full compensation for the entire vehicle was only GAC NIO's promise to its own customers, and did not involve any friends or suppliers, the company said.
GAC NIO was established in April 2018 and is jointly funded by GAC Group, GAC New Energy, NIO Auto and NIO Fund.
GAC NIO currently has only one model under its umbrella, the Hycan 007, with a subsidized price range of RMB 259,800 - RMB 400,000 and an NEDC range of 523-643km.