Sharing firm loses most of its 300,000 umbrellas

A colourful umbrella Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Sharing E Umbrella has not been deterred - it wants to place millions of brollies in public places by the end of the year

A Chinese firm that allowed people to rent umbrellas via an app has said thousands of them have gone missing.

Sharing E Umbrella had left 300,000 brollies in public places in 11 cities, including Shanghai and Nanjing.

Customers pay a 19-yuan (£2.15) deposit to unlock the umbrellas after scanning a code with their smartphone.

Every half hour of use costs a further half yuan, though users must top up in order to keep being charged.

Each brolly costs the firm 60 yuan to replace, but it is undeterred - 30 million new umbrellas will be introduced to the scheme, it has said.

Sharing E Umbrella was launched in April and the initial supply of umbrellas had been distributed to public places, such as railings next to bus and train stations.

The umbrellas were probably taken home by people, suggested the firm's founder Zhao Shuping in an interview with Chinese website, the Paper.

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

"Umbrellas in China are generally quite cheap," said Kerry Allen, a China analyst with BBC Monitoring.

She pointed out that the ones distributed by Sharing E Umbrella would have stood out.

"They were pretty fancy, you could tell the quality was good - the ones you usually get at subway stations tend to be small and very simple."

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