Strong Backing Sees Umbrellas Join China’s Ever-Growing Sharing Economy



(Yicai Global) May 13 -- The sharing economy just keeps getting bigger. The latest addition to China’s sharing craze shared umbrellas, after they popped up at subway stations in the southern city of Guangzhou, China Broadcasting Network reported.

Users can pick up an umbrella by using their WeChat account, syncing their profile picture and name and using the application to pay a deposit. WeChat is a hugely popular messaging app in China that has expanded to include a range of services, including booking plane tickets, hailing taxis and renting shared bikes.

The team behind the idea was Magic Umbrella, who take a CNY30 (USD4.35) deposit for each umbrella, and offers a 15-day free trial. Following that period, the cost of an umbrella will be CNY1 per 12 hours.

“The company has provided more than 1,000 umbrellas at six subway stations in Guangzhou,” said Shen Weiwei, chief executive, when introducing the firm’s service model. “Users can pay their deposits by scanning a QR code.”

In addition to providing a large number of umbrellas for rental, the firm also has to pay for storage machines and rent space in venues. Pre-investment for the business is huge, Shen said. “The goal is that users will not need to buy umbrellas in future. Regarding profit, we’re planning on introducing business sponsorship.”

The sharing economy is expanded rapidly. With established markets for bicycles and cars, new products, such as phone charges and even basketballs, are emerging on the scene.

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