You can no longer stand under my um-ber-ella: A Chinese umbrella sharing startup has already lost all its brollies

Emma Haslett
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The company said it had lost all of its 300,000 brollies in a matter of months (Source: Getty)

This is why we can't have nice things: a China-based umbrella sharing startup has admitted it's lost almost all the 300,000 brollies it launched with, according to reports.

Local state media website The Paper said Sharing E Umbrella, which launched a few weeks ago in 11 cities across China, had said all the umbrellas it launched with had vanished without a trace.

Sharing E Umbrella had sought to emulate the success of China's bike sharing startups, such as Mobike, which recently expanded into Europe, by charging users to use its brollies by the half-hour.

Read more: The Chinese are coming: Boris bikes under threat from a new kid in town

The umbrellas were unlocked using a combination lock on their handles (Source:

Users paid a £2.20 deposit for the umbrellas, which were unlocked via a combination lock in their handles, then about 6p per half hour. The brollies were supposed to be kept in check with a GPS tracker, but users weren't charged for umbrellas which weren't returned.

The startup received 10 million yuan (£1.1m) just before it launched in April, rolling out to the likes of Shanghai, Nanjing, Guangzhou and Nanchang by the end of last month.

But founder Zhao Shuping told The Paper the scheme hadn't gone quite as planned.

“Umbrellas are different from bicycles,” he said.

“Bikes can be parked anywhere, but with an umbrella you need railings or a fence to hang it on.”

However, he added that the company will press on with its rollout, aiming to make 30m brollies available by the end of the year.

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