Wednesday, 26 July, 2017

China: Umbrella Rental Company Has Lost Most Umbrellas In 3 Months

Umbrella-sharing startup loses nearly all of its 300000 umbrellas in a matter of weeks Chinese umbrella-sharing firm remains upbeat despite losing most of its 300000 brollies
Christy Curtis | 12 July, 2017, 00:21

The concept of sharing umbrellas might have not resonated with Chinese locals who failed to return most of the brollies provided by a new, venture-backed startup Sharing E Umbrella. Just under three months after launch, China-based E Umbrella has reportedly lost nearly all of its 300,000 umbrellas available to rent across 11 Chinese cities.

The company Sharing E Umbrella required a deposit of £2.20 per umbrella and charged about 6p for every half an hour of use, deducted from a minimum top-up of £1.

According to the South China Morning Post, company CEO Zhao Shuping said that the idea came to him after watching bike-sharing schemes take off across China, making him realize that "everything on the street can now be shared".

He now admits that "umbrellas are different from bicycles". Stands were typically scattered across the cities near train and bus stations (some of which were outside.in the rain?) and users receive a code to unlock the umbrella after paying for it on an app.

However, he added that the company will press on with its rollout, aiming to make 30m brollies available by the end of the year.

The Zhejiang-based startup, which received 10 million yuan in investment in May, does not appear to charge users a penalty for unreturned brollies.

While sharing economy platforms have exploded in popularity across China, it hasn't all been smooth sailing.

Even if it overcomes the challenge of "light fingered" customers, Sharing E Umbrella faces hardships ahead.

The same publication reports that Zhao plans to release another 30 million umbrellas across China by the end of the year.

But he may have overestimated people's honesty - or even their ability to simply keep in mind to give them back. Last month, shared-bike startup Wukong Bicycles went out of business in Chongqing after almost all of its bikes were stolen following just six months of operation.

A COMPANY which handed out 300,000 brollies under a freakish rental scheme has revealed they've almost all gone missing. The Chinese start-up's concept is similar to existing bicycle-sharing schemes which allow people to pay a small deposit to rent a bicycle, use it, and return it to designated cycle racks.

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