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Vol 1, Issue 03, Aug 2019
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Laidian Technology Co., Ltd.: Can the Power Bank Rental Start-up Recharge China’s Sharing Economy?

Laidian Technology Co. Ltd. was one of the first companies in China to cash in on the country’s latest sharing economy fad – the mobile charger rental business. For a small fee, a user can borrow a charger after scanning a QR code with his/her smartphone, and can return it later at any of the Laidian’s power bank rental stations. By 2018, Laidian has managed to expand into more than 280 cities nationwide and attract over 30 million registered users and hundreds of millions of service users. The start-up looks to steadily expand overseas amid growing domestic competition. Eyeing a niche market, Laidian hopes to be the leader in China’s power bank rental sector going forward. But this journey is not likely to be without challenges. Though an intriguing idea, it is still a risky business proposition, considering not only the low rental fees but also the risk of theft. Some analysts were concerned over the viability and sustainability of the business model of power bank rentals, fearing it may be just another fad. Also, with the fast developing technology and mobile phones with better battery capabilities being released, these business models of power bank rentals might die out in the foreseeable future. Moreover, growing competition, patent infringements by rivals, low profit margins, and concerns over breach of users’ privacy are some of the challenges Laidian could continue to face going forward.

What are the problems faced by a sharing economy when creating a new business model?
What are the reasons for Laidian’s success in China?
What are the possible challenges Laidian could face in its domestic and foreign markets? 

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