A startup in Shanghai has run into trouble after nearly 300,000 users failed to return their umbrellas after taking them. Sharing E Umbrella announced on Monday that they had lost nearly all of their umbrellas after launching earlier this year.
Customers use an app on their smartphone to pay 19 yuan ($2.90) per umbrella deposit and an additional half yuan ($0.07) per 30 minutes. However, the company were left without most of their stock of umbrellas when, just a few weeks after starting operations in 11 cities across China, Sharing E Umbrella announced that it had lost almost all of its umbrellas. Each lost umbrella costs the company 60 yuan ($8.80) to replace.
E Umbrella launched with an investment of 10 million yuan (approximately $1.47 million) when it launched in April. Inspired by the popularity of bike-sharing in China, CEO Zhao Shuping hopes to extend the business model to umbrellas.
The South China Morning Post reports that Zhao concluded that it was best for users to take the umbrellas home at the end of their day. However, many failed to return it to a designated point. "Umbrellas are different from bicycles," the CEO said. "Bikes can be parked anywhere, but with an umbrella you need railings or a fence to hang it on."
The same publication reports that Zhao plans to release another 30 million umbrellas across China by the end of the year.