Chinese Umbrella-Share Startup Lost Almost 300000 Umbrellas

Screengrab via علي عيسى شعيب العلي/Twitter

Sharing E Umbrella announced on Monday that they had lost almost all of their umbrellas after launching earlier this year.

The umbrellas - mostly hung on racks located at subway and bus stations - can be borrowed for a deposit of 19 yuan, or 180 rupees, and a fee of 0.50 yuan, or roughly 5 rupees, for every 30 minutes.

However, the company is already said to have lost a majority of its initial 300,000 brollies, which cost the company around €8 each.

After seeing the launch of bike-sharing schemes across the country, the Shenzhen-based businessman said he "thought that everything on the street can now be shared".

He now admits that "umbrellas are different from bicycles".

He added that Sharing E Umbrella plans to rely mainly on profits from adverts, some of which may be printed on the umbrellas themselves.

Sixth Tone, however, reports that Sharing E Umbrella faces serious competition, with around 15 companies hoping to make a dent in the young "shared umbrellas" market in China.

While sharing economy platforms have exploded in popularity across China, it hasn't all been smooth sailing. The Chinese start-up's concept is similar to existing bicycle-sharing schemes which allow people to pay a small deposit to rent a bicycle, use it, and return it to designated cycle racks. However, unlike Mobike, which recently raised $600 million, and its competitor Ofo, which recently raised $700 million, 30-plus bike sharing apps in the country have had to shut down, according to the South China Morning Post. What's worse, in regions with frequent rain, people are more likely to just buy their own umbrellas.

Manchester and Salford will be the first cities outside Asia to play host to the cycle sharing scheme as part of a trial which will last around six months, reports the Manchester Evening News.

However, the company was caught high and dry when nearly all of the 300,000 umbrellas it provided were stolen shortly after the scheme was launched.