Sharing E Umbrella, a new umbrella sharing company based in Shenzen, China, recently announced that it had lost most of the 300,000 umbrellas it made available since it launched, in April.
China’s sharing economy has been booming, with companies offering anything from bicycles and basketballs to smartphone battery banks on a rental basis. Customers make a small deposit and get to use the item for a set period of time for a daily fee, with penalty fees put in place for every day that they fail to return the product after the deadline. It’s a simple business model, and market data shows that consumers see sharing as a cheap and convenient way to reduce waste and avoid clutter. However, it doesn’t always work out as well as entrepreneurs hope.