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Share-Stools often stolen
Published on: 2017-08-21
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Not willing to sit on its laurels, China's share economy welcomes its newest venture that offers public seating for city residents – currently offered for free as part of a WeChat promotion.

"Share-stools" began appearing throughout Beijing this past weekend, seen to the east of Sanlitun at the Changhongqiao and Pingleyuan bus stops as well as in Shuangjing.

Described as numbering in the "thousands," share-stools all feature a QR code which users are expected to scan before use. But unlike other offerings in the shared economy, there is no deployment system to "unlock" their services.

As a chair left out in the open, nothing prevents someone from simply sitting on it without registering it online. Worse, six of the 10 stools left at the Changhongqiao location had been stolen on their first day.

At present, there is no charge incurred for using these shared stools. Upon scanning the QR code displayed on the seat, users join a WeChat group and are told they are welcome to sit without paying.

City residents are split in their reaction over the newest shared economy venture. One person at the scene said that "at the very least, it looks interesting. Now you can have a rest while waiting for the bus, and that's not bad."

However, another man said that was wary of shared economy ventures, pointing out that "putting 'shared stools' in public places will only make them more crowded," adding that "no one takes responsibility as elderly people stumble into them by mistake."

We'd assume that someone is trying to hype a promotion that doesn't have anything to do with stools or the shared economy. And yet, the company pushing the stools won't settle for being number two, offering such factoids as "there are only 0.05 public seats available on a per capita to Beijing residents."

Still not convinced? As the "instruction manual" explains, the "Shared Stool 1.0" is offered in five colors that include "Chinese red," "technological blue," "shared yellow," "forgiveness green," and "high-grade black," each "providing different emotions."

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