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O2Sun brought to book

(Global Times)

10:29, October 31, 2011

Popular privately-owned O2Sun Bookstore outlets in Beijing are struggling for survival after headquarters management in Xiamen, Fujian Province, resigned en masse due to financial problems.

Two stores in Beijing, one in Wudaokou, Haidian district and one at SOHO New Town in Chaoyang district, were closed at the weekend, as suppliers rushed into the stores, emptying shelves for fear their unpaid debts could not be settled.

The bookstores in Xiamen were all closed Saturday, said local reports, but some Beijing stores were operating Sunday.

News first spread on Sina Weibo, when Zhang Xiaoxing, an editor with Everbright Book Company, said on his Weibo that the Xiamen office of O2Sun Bookstore was empty, and all the management had resigned.

Zhang Chi, general manager of the company, confirmed the rumor to Xiamen Daily Saturday, and said she was the one who suggested the resignation.

The company is short of money, Zhang Chi said, with sales decreasing during the past four years while rent and other costs keep increasing. The company is trying to find funding from Hong Kong, a Strait Herald report quoted Zhang Chi as saying.

Many residents are bemoaning the closures, saying it's a loss to book lovers who will miss reading at a real book store with a good environment.

A franchise outlet of O2Sun at Shinkong Place was also closed Sunday, bookshelves emptied, a few customers peering through the window.

"It's such a pity to see them closed. I used to read there and also bought a few books with coupons," said Wang Xinglei at Shinkong Place Sunday.

Many bookstores, especially privately-owned ones, have closed in Beijing due to financial and sales difficulties while online stores' business booms.

"I prefer online shopping for buying books now, as I can always find a favorite book online at a much cheaper price than in real bookstores," said Wang.

"The company had a lot of problems including frequent personnel adjustments and unpaid debts when we cooperated with them in 2009," said Zhao Jingwen, CEO of wowsai.com, a gift website, on his Weibo.

Beijing News said the company owes tens of millions of yuan to some 500 suppliers in Beijing. O2Sun has not confirmed the newspaper's report.

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