(ECNS) -- More than 10 startups have rushed to offer sharable mobile power packs in Xi'an city, Northwest China's Shaanxi Province, local media reported.
Portable chargers and external battery packs are seen as a daily necessity to keep smartphones or tablets charged when people are on the go, prompting investment enthusiasm.
Sharable chargers are available at 37 sites in Xi'an, including restaurants and shopping malls. Users can scan a QR code on a machine to rent a convenient power source to provide a jump-start. They need to make a deposit of 100 yuan (), or waive the deposit if their Alipay-based Sesame Credit score is over 600.
Since the deposit is already higher than the price of popular products on the market, there's less concern about potential damage or loss, according to the report. It's free to use for the first hour, with the rate set at about 1 yuan per hour after and 10 yuan a day at most.
Xi'an now has more than 10 startups providing sharable power packs, with some already raising 100 million yuan in financing.
Shenzhen-based Laidian Technology, a company offering power bank rental services in more than 80 cities, secured 20 million yuan in its Series A financing, the highest in the nascent sector, on April 5.
From March 31 to April 10, more than 20 investors financed 300 million yuan in five deals, indicating growing competition for power bank rental services.
But the profit picture remains dim. Wei Wuhui, a venture partner from the tech-focused investment group SkyChee Ventures, said the demand for renting a portable charger exists but the business model remains unclear.