Chinese brolly-sharing startup loses most of its inventory

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.

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. Each GPS-enabled umbrella cost the company about £6.85. He said the process is being retooled and he expects to expand the business to 30 million umbrellas made available at locations across China by the end of the year. When they pay, customers can "unlock" the umbrella with a code. For example, Sharing E Umbrella requires a deposit of 19 yuan, or about $3.

"We were really impressed by the bike-sharing model", he said.

A host of different companies have been able to take advantage of China's sharing economy craze.

The news may come as no surprise, considering just last month, umbrella-share startups in Shanghai lost most of their umbrellas in just days. But, apparently, customers have skipped the final step of then returning the umbrellas, simply keeping them for themselves.

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. He reportedly plans to release another 30 million umbrellas by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, South China Morning Post reports a bicycle-sharing company in China shut down last month after almost 90 per cent of its bikes were stolen.

However, just weeks after making 300,000 brollies available to the public the company announced that a lot of them had gone missing. Wukong Bike, a five-month-old bike-sharing startup, collapsed after 90 percent of its bikes were stolen, reported Financial Times.

While Sharing E Umbrella gave out their umbrellas at train and bus stops, they also deduced the safest place for users to temporarily store their umbrellas would be in their homes.

  • Joey Payne