12 July, 2017
This is why we can't have nice things: a China-based umbrella sharing startup has admitted it's lost nearly all the 300,000 brollies it launched with, according to reports.
E Umbrella, an umbrella sharing startup that launched in China just three months ago, has reportedly lost most of its inventory. Why? The Guardian suggests the fault lies with the company's founders: While a would-be umbrella user must pay a roughly $2.80 deposit and about $0.07 per half-hour of use, the paper reports no additional penalty is levied for failing to return an umbrella.
Each lost umbrella costs E Umbrella about RMB60 to replace, but the company still intends to add another 30 million over the next several months. "Umbrellas are different from bicycles", Zhao said.
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.
The startup received 10 million yuan (£1.1m) just before it launched in April, rolling out to the likes of Shanghai, Nanjing, Guangzhou and Nanchang by the end of last month.
"We were really impressed by the bike-sharing model", he said.
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While the concept of the sharing economy has been gathering momentum in China, Zhao's is not the only business in the sector to be hit by a rain cloud or two.
The problems with the service are said to revolve around challenges when it comes to customers actually returning the umbrellas.
He says that he is determined for his business to be a success and will make another 30 million umbrellas available for rent across the country by the end of the year.
But he may have overestimated people's honesty - or even their ability to simply do not forget to give them back. Shortly afterward, Beijing-based 3Vbike followed suit. The loss of umbrellas isn't stopping the company though.