Foolish umbrella sharing business loses its 300000 brollies
- Author: Megan Austin Jul 12, 2017,
Jul 12, 2017, 0:09
A China-based umbrella-sharing startup has seen brighter days, after losing almost all of its 300,000 umbrellas in under three months.
The idea was that customers could use an app to pay a 19 yuan (£2.20) deposit fee for an umbrella, then just 50 jiao every half hour to use it. It was unclear how users were meant to return the umbrellas, however, costing the company $8.82 for each umbrella that went unreturned.
After seeing the launch of bike-sharing schemes across the country, Zhao said he "thought that everything on the street can now be shared". The difference between the other companies and E Umbrella is that they don't have to keep replacing the inventory because it's not returned.
He added that Sharing E Umbrella plans to rely mainly on profits from adverts, some of which may be printed on the umbrellas themselves. When they pay, customers can "unlock" the umbrella with a code.
The company was launched in April - with an investment of £1.1m- and by the end of last month had been rolled out to 11 cities on China's mainland, including Shanghai, Nanjing, Guangzhou and Nanchang.
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A host of different companies have been able to take advantage of China's sharing economy craze.
E Umbrella's problem doesn't appear to be renting but seeing those umbrellas come back. "Bikes can be parked anywhere, but with an umbrella you need railings or a fence to hang it on".
Despite the expensive teething problems, the company is still hoping to offer 30 million umbrellas across the country by the end of the year. What's worse, in regions with frequent rain, people are more likely to just buy their own umbrellas. Wukong Bike, a five-month-old bike-sharing startup, collapsed after 90 percent of its bikes were stolen, reported Financial Times.
Mr Zhao told the state media website The Paper that people may have broken their umbrellas, or may have hired more than one and left them at home.
A COMPANY which handed out 300,000 brollies under a freakish rental scheme has revealed they've almost all gone missing.