After the lifestyle-changing initiatives of shared bikes and cars, will the emerging Shared Power Bank also become a popular convenience, or just sound and fury? Will it be a success? Will you use it in times of need?
Shared Power Bank
Securing 1.2 billion yuan in financing in only 40 days, the Shared Power Bank Business has garnered a lot of public attention and sparked concerns about its practicability and market prospects.
Charging smartphones has become almost a daily routine for everyone. According to statistics, China has over 1.3 billion mobile device users in 2017, and over 1 billion battery charging happen every day, among which ten percent happen away from home or outside workplaces.
Many smartphone addicts tend to get anxious when the battery has only 20 percent power left and they happen to have no power bank at hand.
Currently, there are two major types of shared power banks on the market.
One is a desktop-mode charging device installed in places like cafes and restaurants. It can charge multiple smartphones at the same time while customers enjoy their stay at the venues. Users just need to scan the QR code and pay.
Another is a cabinet storing dozens of Portable Power Banks for rent in shopping malls, convenience stores or places with a large flow of people. Users can scan the QR code with WeChat or Alipay to pay a refundable deposit of 100 yuan before leaving with a power bank. No deposit is required for those with an Alipay sesame credit of over 600 yuan. The first hour is free. After that, users will have to pay one yuan per hour and no more than 10 yuan per day. But users may need to buy a 10-yuan data wire onsite that connects the power bank with their smartphones. The power bank must be returned to one of the renting points.
The sharing mode almost invites disputes as it doesn’t fall exactly into the "sharable and easy drop-off" category. Take Didi car hailing service as an example. Hailing a car is much cheaper and easier than buying one, especially when you can leave it at a destination without worrying about parking. But a power bank is not expensive and most people have their own. Charging smartphones at cafés and restaurants may mean extra spending while renting power banks requires one to search everywhere for renting points to get one or to return one. To be unkind, the effort required may just remind users to take their own charger with them next time out, just to spare the trouble.
When interviewed about their opinions on shared power banks, some people think it might be helpful in times of need, but otherwise not. Some wonder how one can scan the QR code when the smartphone is out of power. Quite a few people voiced concern about personal privacy security infringement by tampered power banks attached with malice chips or infected by a trojan virus.
Internet security specialists remind that users should decline any suspicious “accept,” “confirm” or “agree” requests that pop up on the screen in case of personal information breach.
Challenges remain, but who knows. With so many masterminds in the industry, shared power banks may one day find a way to dismiss all the doubts and become a real convenience to all.