Au­thor­i­ties should keep an open mind about sleep cab­ins

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT - A BUSI­NESS

in Zhong­guan­cun, a tech­nol­ogy hub for star­tups in Bei­jing, which of­fered cap­sule-like rooms on a short-term ba­sis, has been or­dered to sus­pend oper­a­tions, rais­ing ques­tions about the fu­ture of such ho­tels. Bei­jing News com­mented on Mon­day:

Places of­fer­ing WiFi-en­abled sleep cab­ins that are san­i­tized by means of ul­tra­vi­o­let light, which users can check in and check out by us­ing a smart­phone, have been gain­ing pop­u­lar­ity in many cities. Not least be­cause the charges are rea­son­able: 10 yuan ($1.5) per half-hour for peak times and 6 yuan for ev­ery 30 min­utes dur­ing off­peak times.

Rem­i­nis­cent of cap­sule ho­tels, the places of­fer­ing such sleep cab­ins tar­get ur­ban white col­lar work­ers, many of whom work over­time, who want a place to take a nap dur­ing the day.

Why the Zhong­guan­cun-based busi­ness was shut down re­mains un­clear. Lo­cal au­thor­i­ties have not taken fur­ther ac­tions against other short-time sleep cab­ins else­where. They are right to bide their time in­stead of rush­ing to im­pose a com­plete ban on the bud­ding ser­vice.

It is still early to say whether such sleep­ing cab­ins are a good idea or not, as they are a new busi­ness model.

Most sleep cab­ins are in­side of­fice build­ings, and their air con­di­tion­ing and sound­proof­ing are flawed. Whether users are al­lowed to spend the night af­ter the build­ings are closed and who is re­spon­si­ble for their safety are yet to be de­ter­mined.

More im­por­tantly, the li­censes re­quired to op­er­ate sleep cab­ins may be tricky to draw up. That, of course, calls for up-to-date, flex­i­ble pol­i­cy­mak­ing to en­sure the ser­vice is prop­erly reg­u­lated.

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