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July 18, 2017

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Sleeping pods in city take a nap themselves

HERE today, gone tomorrow. Or in the case of a sleeping capsule operation in the city — here last week, gone this week.

Three sleeping capsules outlets that opened last week have closed this week for “system upgrading,” said the operator Beijing Xiangshui Technology Company.

The closure news came after Pudong New Area’s fire department inspected one of the outlets, the “shared sleeping space” at New Shanghai International Tower in Pudong yesterday afternoon.

The three service outlets, each featuring two capsule compartments, were set up for white collar workers wanting to take a nap. They were located at commercial buildings in the Pudong New Area, Jing’an and Xuhui districts.

The capsules, opening from 9am to 6pm, charge 6 yuan (88 US cents) for a 30-minute stay during non-rush hours and 10 yuan during rush hours.

It is not known when they will resume operation. “We are not a hotel,” Ye Min, deputy business director of Beijing Xiangshui Technology told Shanghai Daily. “It’s more like shared bikes.”

He added the most popular hours for using the capsules were around lunchtime, but declined to say how many people had used the service. Users can open the capsule after scanning a QR code on the door for timed charging.

Online, some have welcomed the idea of capsules saying they are “comfortable and cheap” while others worry about hygiene and safety issues.

In China, guests need to register their identity card or passport to check in at a hotel, and hotels have to apply for a fire safety license from the local fire authority. Ye declined to say if Beijing Xiangshui Technology has such a license.

Pudong’s fire department said the capsules did not meet fire requirements for hotels. The authority ordered the removal of the capsules yesterday.

Ye said the capsules in Jing’an would also be removed. The company’s outlets in Beijing have also been closed.

The firm’s chief executive, Dai Jiangong, is reported to have said that Shanghai’s fire department had sent the company a notice about the capsules, pointing out potential fire risks and recommending that the capsules be removed.

He insisted the company closed the outlets in Shanghai, Beijing and Chengdu for a systems upgrade and will further work with local health, industry and commerce and fire authorities as well as the police.


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