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Got you covered? 300000 umbrellas stolen in share scheme start-up

Got you covered? 300000 umbrellas stolen in share scheme start-up”

The Verge suggests another problem, that "the startup apparently didn't provide enough information on how customers can return the umbrellas when they're done".

Local state media website The Paper said Sharing E Umbrella, which launched a few weeks ago in 11 cities across China, had said all the umbrellas it launched with had vanished without a trace.

The scheme asks for a 19 yuan (£2.16) deposit with the user charged 0.5 yuan (6p) for every half an hour.

The company was launched in April - with an investment of 10 million yuan - and by the end of last month had been rolled out to 11 cities on China's mainland, including Shanghai, Nanjing, Guangzhou and Nanchang, the report said.

Zhao, who said his business model was inspired by bike sharing services in China, said he has not given up on the umbrella rental scheme.

"We were really impressed by the bike-sharing model", he said. Bicycle and vehicle sharing companies have been a success in most countries but the umbrella idea hasn't been bad either, with thousands of umbrellas being rented since April.

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A host of different companies have been able to take advantage of China's sharing economy craze. "Bikes can be parked anywhere, but with an umbrella you need railings or a fence to hang it on". The problem, Mr Shuping admitted, was figuring out how to get people to return the umbrellas once they were done using them.

The SCMP reports that Zhao concluded that the safest place for an umbrella would be at the customer's home, where it would be safe and undamaged. So, most people simply ended up holding on to them.

With the addition of millions of new umbrellas by the end of the year, he will certainly have to make some changes to keep the business afloat.

Chongqing-based Wukong Bicycles, for example, was forced to close down in June after losing 90 percent of its bikes within five months of launching.

This is perhaps because the brollies are worth 60 yuan - more than the deposit to rent them. The loss of umbrellas isn't stopping the company though.



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