China: Around The Nation

Over-sharing? Chinese city moves to ban scheme to rent out baby strollers after just two days

Shanghai authorities halt latest shared-economy phenomenon under measures designed to curb the spread of bike hire services

PUBLISHED : Monday, 21 August, 2017, 2:09pm
UPDATED : Monday, 21 August, 2017, 2:09pm

A plan to rent out baby strollers, the latest phenomenon in China’s booming shared economy, hit the buffers after the authorities in Shanghai suspended the scheme just days after it started.

Dimeng Technology, the service operator, offered 500 strollers for hire around Century Park in Pudong New District.

Its was similar to the many bike share schemes that have sprung up around the country. Users could hire the strollers by scanning a QR code after downloading the app, registering their mobiles and having their names authenticated.

However, more than 300 strollers were taken away by government officers on Saturday following an order by the Shanghai municipal government banning new shared bike schemes.

But Dimeng insisted it should not be included in the order.

“Shared baby strollers are not bikes and should not be subject to the municipal regulation,” operation director Wang Quan told the South China Morning Post.

The company is now negotiating with the local government in the hope of restarting the scheme.

It said it had attracted several thousands of users during its two-day operation, an encouraging sign that it could be expanded to cover other parts of Shanghai or other cities.

And baby makes three... now strollers are the latest trend to hit China’s sharing economy

Half of the users chose to put down a 99 yuan (US$15) deposit before paying one yuan for every half-hour or use.

The others did not pay a deposit but were charged two yuan for every half-hour.

Despite the temporary suspension, Wang said customers’ deposits were safe and could be refunded at any time.

Some senior residents welcomed the service. “This is very convenient. We are too old to carry a child all the time,” a grandmother was quoted by Knews as saying.

Some, however, expressed worries about hygiene, saying children were vulnerable to picking up infections such as hand-foot-and-mouth disease

Wang said that his company will have staff to disinfect trolleys regularly.

Why China’s bike-sharing boom is causing headaches

The boom in bike sharing services across the mainland has generated complaints about illegal parking, traffic violations and cycles being dumped.

Online, some people lauded the move to suspend the service.

“Sharing this and sharing that. Our roads and pavements have all been occupied by this sharing economy,” one internet user complained.