Umbrella-sharing start-up takes a rain check after losing 300000 brollies

An umbrella sharing start-up has lost 300,000 brollies as users fail to return them in the first few weeks

At least, that was the idea behind the startup company Sharing E Umbrella - until almost all of its shareable umbrellas were stolen in just a few weeks. However, only three months into starting up operations in 11 cities across China, Sharing E Umbrella announced that it lost nearly all of its umbrellas, reports South China Morning Post. 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.

Less than three months after launching, the Chinese umbrella-sharing startup has reportedly managed to lose nearly all of its 300,000 brollies, each of which costs 60 yuan to replace.

"We were really impressed by the bike-sharing model", the company's founder, Zhao Shuping, told Thepaper.

"Umbrellas are different from bicycles", he said. Bike sharing has been incredibly popular however there have been hiccups. When they pay, customers can "unlock" the umbrella with a code.

The company, Sharing E Umbrella, launched a scheme similar to public bike-sharing models in which people can rent and return umbrellas at their leisure.

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

However, just weeks after making 300,000 brollies available to the public the company announced that majority had gone missing.

The umbrellas were rolled out in Shanghai, Nanjing, Guangzhou and Nanchang and although there aren't many left for a rainy day, Mr Zhao says he plans to put them into even cities more across China. Wukong Bike, a five-month-old bike-sharing startup, collapsed after 90 percent of its bikes were stolen, reported Financial Times.

More to the point, the platform doesn't charge users an unreturned umbrella fee, meaning most people simply ended up keeping them.

A COMPANY which handed out 300,000 brollies under a weird rental scheme has revealed they've almost all gone missing.



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