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Trending in China: Shared Power Bank Prices Rocket – Sparking Outcry From China’s Phone Users

Han Xu / Mar 12, 2021 04:32 PM / Trending Stories

What’s trending?

The rental price of shared power banks in China is now four times higher than when the concept entered the market several years ago. It now costs 4 yuan ($0.62) per hour to charge your phone, or up to 40 yuan for a 24-hour period. The hashtag #shared-power-banks-rent-increases-from-1-yuan/hour-to-4-yuan/hour# has been viewed over 160 million times on Weibo.

What’s the story?

Yu Daisong, a researcher from the economic department at Southwest University, said in an interview with The Cover (link in Chinese) that the booming shared economy model has followed a two-stage pattern.

In the first stage, business owners usually roll out special offers to attract as many consumers as possible. With shared power banks, some brands originally had a “first thirty minutes free” offer when they initially launched along with low rental prices and constant discounts.

However, after the user base reached a critical mass, Yu claimed the market then entered a second stage in which business owners started to shift their focus to increasing profits and that meant raising rental prices.

According to iResearch Consulting Group, a Chinese market research and consulting company, the shared power bank market size has grown from 80 million users in 2017 to 290 million users in 2020. A prominent player, Energy Monster, has completed a 500-million-yuan Series C funding.

What are people saying online?

From free for the first thirty minutes and 1 yuan/hour after that to 4 yuan/hour, most Weibo users believe that renting a power bank has lost any advantage it once had over buying one. One popular comment read, “The rent is too high. If I have to pay that much to get my phone fully charged, I’d rather buy a power bank at this point.”

But some also said that they found shared power banks irreplaceable under certain circumstances. “When I go to the mall, I really do not want to carry a heavy power bank with me the whole time. You don’t understand how great a rental power bank can be,” said one phone user.

Related: Shared Phone-Charger Sector Sees First Firm Run Out of Juice

Venture Cash Puts Jolt Into Portable Phone-Charging Business


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