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People won't stop stealing this company's rentable umbrellas
12 July 2017, 12:06 | Katrina Lee
Chinese umbrella-sharing firm remains upbeat despite losing most of its 300000 brollies
Just weeks after making 300,000 brollies available to the public via a rental scheme, Sharing E Umbrella announced that a lot of them had gone missing, news website Thepaper.cn reported on Thursday.
The company Sharing E Umbrella admitted that most of the umbrellas made available to hire had somehow disappeared however there has been no official figure released by the company.
The scheme asks for a 19 yuan (£2.16) deposit with the user charged 0.5 yuan (6p) for every half an hour.
Zhao Shuping, the company's founder revealed to The Paper that each umbrella costs around 60 yuan (£6.84).
Mr Zhao says the scheme makes money through advertising on the umbrella, saying "the umbrella is not only a tool for shelter, it is an advertising media".
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.
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The Zhejiang-based startup, which received 10 million yuan in investment in May, does not appear to charge users a penalty for unreturned brollies. The concept was similar to those that bike-sharing startups have used to (mostly) great success.
A host of different companies have been able to take advantage of China's sharing economy craze.
Despite the expensive teething problems, the company is still hoping to offer 30 million umbrellas across the country by the end of the year. If at first you don't succeed. What's worse, in regions with frequent rain, people are more likely to just buy their own umbrellas.
The problem, however, wasn't that people didn't want to loan the umbrellas out. Wukong Bike, a five-month-old bike-sharing startup, collapsed after 90 percent of its bikes were stolen, reported Financial Times.
So even though it would be nice to grab an umbrella when walking home in a downpour, one thing seems clear: if sharing economy companies don't change the way that they keep track of their products, they won't stick around long - whether it rains or not.
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