Sleep­ing cap­sules shut down over fire risk

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By CHINA DAILY

Au­thor­i­ties in Shang­hai have shut down newly opened sleep­ing cap­sules in of­fice build­ings, cit­ing fire haz­ards and other rea­sons.

Sim­i­lar to cap­sule ho­tels in Ja­pan, the sleep­ing cap­sules showed up i n three of­fice build­ings in Shang­hai and in build­ings in sev­eral other cities. They are de­signed to of­fer white-col- lar work­ers a space to take a break, day or night.

The clam­p­down in Shang­hai came after sus­pen­sions of the ser­vice in Bei­jing and Chengdu, Sichuan province.

“Sleep­ing cap­sules are usu­ally in a nar­row space, where in­juries or even death can eas­ily re­sult if a fire breaks out,” said Li Min, an en­gi­neer in the fire­fight­ing di­vi­sion of Pudong New Area who helped in­spect cap­sules in the New Shang­hai In­ter­na­tional Tower on Mon­day.

“Smoke and poi­son gases can gather faster in th­ese spa­ces. Sit­ting or ly­ing down on the bed in the cap­sule could re­sult in a rel­a­tively slow re­sponse to an emer­gency,” she said. “It con­trib­utes to the dif­fi­culty of a fire evac­u­a­tion.”

Shang­hai po­lice also said the ser­vice was sus­pended be­cause it did not get per­mis­sion from fire de­part­ments or a li­cense to run a ho­tel.

The cap­sules, de­vel­oped by Bei­jing tech com­pany Xiang­shui Space, are equipped with elec­tri­cal ac­ces­sories in­clud­ing a lamp, fan and power sock­ets. Peo­ple can get dis­pos­able bed­ding free, in­clud­ing sheets, pil­low­cases and blan­kets. Earplugs are also avail­able.

Any­one can pay for a cap­sule by scan­ning its QR code. The cap­sules in Shang­hai of­fer 24-hour ser­vice at 10 yuan ($1.50) for ev­ery half-hour dur­ing peak hours (11 am to 2 pm) and 6 yuan per half-hour at other times. The up­per limit is 58 yuan per day.

Xiang­shui Space’s web­site was out of ser vice on Wed­nes­day, cit­ing “sys­tem up­grad­ing”.

CEO Dai Jian­gong told Bei­jing News on Wed­nes­day that the com­pany was “re­call­ing” its prod­ucts for an up­grade at the re­quest of au­thor­i­ties in dif­fer­ent cities. He was also quoted as say­ing that the com­pany was not pe­nal­ized.

The cap­sules were in­tro­duced as the shar­ing econ­omy has boomed in China through prod­ucts such as bi­cy­cles, um­brel­las, charg­ers, cars and even bas­ket­balls.

In the case of the sleep­ing cap­sules, many ne­ti­zens ex­pressed con­cerns about hy­giene, not fire haz­ards.

“I don’t think it would meet health stan­dards if no one ti­died it up after it was used,” one ne­ti­zen wrote.

An­other wrote: “High qual­ity man­age­ment is the pre­req­ui­site for the shar­ing busi­ness.”

Cao Chen con­trib­uted to this story.

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