Authorities in Shanghai and Beijing have ordered the closure of several capsule hotels after it was found that the establishments lacked necessary licenses or failed to meet fire safety requirements.
Municipal officials accused the operators of not securing the relevant hotel and hostel licenses and also not complying with other rules, reports say.
The regulatory crackdown threatens to affect an industry that has begun to take wing in recent years.
The capsule hotels had been promoting themselves as a new form of sharing economy, offering pods for short stays at very low prices.
Among those hit by the tightened government scrutiny is Xiangshui Kongjian, one of the leaders which entered the market at the beginning of this year.
The group has been forced to close three “experience shops” — one each in Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu, news website hk01.com reports.
A company spokesperson, Dai Jiangong, was quoted as saying that he expects the facilities will be able to resume operations later as the group is seeking to engage with various authorities, including the hygiene, commerce, public security and fire departments.
He said the idea of capsule hotels is to provide private space for rest for white collar people during the work day, and that the service cannot be equated to a hotel operation.
It is estimated that there are at present over 100 capsule hotels in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Chengdu, with an aggregate user base of 10,000 people.
According to hk01.com, many of the beds in the mainland capsule hotels measure two meters by one meter. The pods come with adjustable lighting, USB outlet, free WIFI connection and power socket. There is usually a ventilation fan but no air-conditioning inside the capsules.
The rental could be as low as six yuan for 30 minutes stay.
Many people who have tried the new service said they were disappointed as the bed and linen were poor. Sound insulation, hygiene, security and privacy were some of the issues raised by netizens for this new kind of accommodation service.
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