The latest tech craze in China involves sharing. Shared bikes, umbrellas, basketballs, all available in a few clicks of an app. But these #startup businesses are quickly running into major trouble – like the bike-sharing app that got 90 percent of its bikes stolen, and the umbrella-sharing service that saw nearly all its 300,000 umbrellas vanish into thin air.
And now another sharing service in China is going through its own nightmare – a napping pod startup has been forced to close because it failed to get the relevant permits.
Beijing-based Xiangshui Space, just one month after installing its sleep pods in office buildings in 18 cities, has shut down as a temporary measure, CEO Dai Jiangong told Sixth Tone over the weekend, after police scrutiny in Beijing and Shanghai revealed the firm didn’t have the necessary licenses from local fire departments. The startup then voluntarily shuttered its pods in other cities.
The Xiangshui Space pods were aimed at office workers needing a productivity-boosting nap.
The startup charged US$1.50 at peak times – 11 am to 2 pm – for the first half hour, and then US$0.05 for every minute thereafter.
Although not a hotel, like Japan’s famed capsule hotels, the Chinese startup still needed to take into account rules around safety and hygiene. This is a pretty typical capsule hotel in Tokyo:
Like pretty much every sharing – read: rental – startup in China, right now, Xiangshui Space’s pods rely on a QR code and phone payments, with the fee paid via WeChat or Alipay.
Each nap pod comes with a blanket, a fan, a power outlet, and a USB port.
There’s also a mirror in case you need to take a selfie before you nap.
The startup’s homepage is now stripped bare, showing just a contact form and a notice that it’s “temporarily closed.” CEO Dai Jiangong did not outline how the startup might make its comeback.
Steven's interested in ecommerce, mobile, smartphone adoption, gadgets, social media, transportation, and cars. If you have any tips or feedback, contact him on Twitter: @sirsteven