The concept is fairly straightforward: anyone who wants an umbrella pays a small deposit and gets an "unlock" code via the app. The umbrella can then be deposited to designated racks around the city, ready for someone else to pick up.
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.
"Everything on the street can now be shared," South China Morning Post quotes the company's founder Zhao Shuping as saying. Well, perhaps not everything, as almost all of the company's 300,000 umbrellas went missing. The problem, Mr Shuping admitted, was figuring out how to get people to return the umbrellas once they were done using them.
Turns out, the platform doesn't charge users a fee for failing to return a borrowed umbrella. So, most people simply ended up holding on to them.
Each lost umbrella reportedly costs the company 60 yuan, approximately 550 rupees, to replace.
The news has amused many on Twitter:
Three weeks in, and almost all inventory stolen. I guess when it rains, it pours. And when it pours, there's no more umbrellas to help you. https://t.co/yVtMrYGRX5— Matt Maher (@mattmaher14) July 10, 2017
The Sharing Economy meets its match-the umbrella https://t.co/jqa4xGfDmy— Erick Schonfeld (@erickschonfeld) July 10, 2017
"It's like Uber, but for umbrellas."— Jeff Gilling (@jeffgilling) July 11, 2017
What could possibly go wrong?
Umbrella-sharing startup loses nearly all of... https://t.co/wl3TWfjuqO
Don't rain on their parade, you know they have no umbrellas c'mon now— (@irrelevanI) July 10, 2017
Meanwhile, South China Morning Post reports a bicycle-sharing company in China shut down last month after nearly 90 per cent of its bikes were stolen. Click for more trending news
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