An umbrella-sharing start-up has lost almost all of its 300,000 brollies just weeks after it launched in China. 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 umbrella-sharing service theoretically operates by having users pay a $2.79 deposit along with a 7-cent fee for each half hour of use. In less than three months, the company has reportedly lost 300,000 umbrellas.
Zhao said: 'I thought sharing bikes were done, sharing cars was done. The concept was similar to those that bike-sharing startups have used to (mostly) great success.
If you're in Chinese city on a rainy day and need an umbrella, you might be able to use an app to find one hanging on a fence that you can rent. But as the new sharing company E Umbrella has learned, umbrellas, unlike bikes, are easily misplaced.
While sharing economy platforms have exploded in popularity across China, it hasn't all been smooth sailing.
E Umbrella's problem doesn't appear to be renting but seeing those umbrellas come back.
Shanghaiistreports that the start-up's executives are undeterred by the missing umbrellas and promise to release another 30 million umbrellas by the end of the year.
"Umbrellas are different from bicycles", E Umbrella founder Zhao Shuping told South China Morning Post. If at first you don't succeed. China receives the most rain in the summertime, leaving little interest in the business during drier months. So, most people simply ended up holding on to them.
Sixth Tone points out that Sharing E Umbrella, along with its 14 other competitors in the umbrella-sharing industry, might face even more problems as the weeks turn into months. Shortly afterward, Beijing-based 3Vbike followed suit.
While Sharing E Umbrella gave out their umbrellas at train and bus stops, they also deduced the safest place for users to temporarily store their umbrellas would be in their homes.
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