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Will the bed-sharing business model survive in China?

The sharing economy has initiated its latest member in China——bed-sharing. Beijing-based startup Xiangshui Technology Ltd., whose name literally means ‘enjoy sleeping’, has recently opened dozens of stores in Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu. People can use these sealable capsule-like bunk beds to take a nap during the day.

Unfortunately, its stores, Xiangshui Space, have all been closed in recent days due to regulations. Shanghai local police cited the company for lacking fire-control permissions and hotel qualifications for its spaces. Oppositely, as reported by The Paper, company founder Dai Jiangong claimed he closed the stores to upgrade systems and communicate with local governments.

How this bed-sharing platform works

Xiangshui Spaces are mostly located in large office buildings full of white-collar workers who may need a power nap during the day. Each space consists of several bunk beds, however, with little oversight.

Users can enter a capsule by scanning a QR code with their smart phones. Each capsule is equipped with an electric fan, a reading lamp, a charging outlet, a mirror and bedding. Users can get a set of disposable bedding as well. Xiangshui Space staff change the bedding inside each capsule daily.

The company charges customers RMB 10 (USD 1.5) for half an hour of rest between 11am and 14pm. Outside of those hours, it’s RMB 6 for half an hour, with a daily maximum set at RMB 58.

Photo from ifeng.com

A good idea in need of better execution

Work efficiency tends to drop off after lunch. “The reason why we started this business is related to the personal experiences of our staff,” said Dai to local media. “They can be vigorous in the afternoon if they sleep for a while over the noon. But they can only put up with taking a nap on their desks or on the sofa. We want to provide a better sleeping place for people like them. ”

One user told AllTechAsia that she enjoyed her stay at the capsule and would use it again. However, she feels the disposable bedding and the sound insulation of the cabins need to be improved.

Valuable business model that meets market demands

To some extent, these sleeping capsules remind us of the famous capsule hotels in Japan. However, these sleeping capsules are more like small rest spaces affiliated to offices instead of independent hotels. Moreover, they only serve as a place for people to take a nap rather than spend the night there.

This is not a unique concept. Some internet companies, such as the Chinese search engine giant Baidu, have already provided similar spaces for their employees. However, this is the first time where such spaces are more publicly available.

Startups such as Xiangshui Space do not operate as typical hotels because they provide a more flexible service for those in need.

The spokesman of Xiangshui Space said the company will resume its services once they are permitted with relevant qualifications.

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