Chinese startup E Umbrella has been met with a major limitation of the sharing economy: product loss. The company has already reportedly lost 300,000 umbrellas in its first year of operations due a lack of user experience and terms of services ending in the users not knowing, or not being willing, to return the rented umbrellas.
With the quantity of umbrellas lost, E Umbrella founder Zhao Shuping told the South China Morning Post that it was probably “best” the users take the umbrellas home so at least they would be “safe.”
E Umbrella launched last April with an initial investment of 10 million yuan ($1.7 million) across 11 cities in mainland China. For a user to start sharing umbrellas, a 19 yuan ($2.90 dollars) deposit is made and a fee of 0.50 yuan ($0.07 cents) per every 30 minutes of use.
The umbrella-sharing company is attempting to copy the operations of the booming bike-sharing services that has spread across some of China’s main cities.
Shupin said the company will continue to pursue its development, but perhaps it could benefit from the missteps of others, such as the recent shutdown of a bike sharing program that lost 90% of their bikes due to similar problems.
In this, as other tech-related ventures, China’s entrepreneurs are testing the sharing-economy limits.
Marco Islas for TechFunnel.com