You’re out and about when you find yourself hyperventilating because your phone starts flashing the ominous “low battery” warning, and you realize you’ve left your power bank at home. This might sound like a first world problem elsewhere, but in China, it’s a legit concern. Life grinds to a halt when your phone dies—how are you supposed to hail cabs or pay for coffee now?
Well this is where Ankerbox comes in. They’re tapping into the recent product-sharing market, launching a range of rentable chargers stationed at different docks throughout the city. Fully charged, it holds 6700mAh. In layman terms, that means you can charge your iPhone at least twice over.
The app is available for Apple and Android, simply search 街电(jiedian) on the store. Or you can also follow their official account, Anker街电 on WeChat.
To use AnkerBox, you’ll need to deposit RMB100 via Alipay or WeChat Wallet.
The main screen of the app works similarly to Mobike, Ofo and Didi, with a map displaying the area around you and the nearest available chargers. After you’ve located one, click on 借 (dark grey button on the bottom left). Now scan the given QR code on the docking box. There will be one for paying with Alipay (支付宝) and another for paying with WeChat Wallet (微信). Make sure you scan the right one.
If you’re using the app, they’ll prompt you to login. You can do this with WeChat. The app will redirect you to the payment page. Pay the RMB100 deposit. The app will let you know which charger has been assigned to you; it'll also pop out of its dock automatically, so fairly obvious. Retrieve by gently tugging. iPhone users will end up with a grey and blue charger, while Android users with a grey and green one. You can choose to hang around the station, or take the charger with you.
The first 30 minutes is free, then RMB1 per hour and RMB10 for the whole day. The fees are deducted from that RMB100 you deposited, whatever you've not used will be returned to you. After you're done with it, mosey back into the app and click on 还 (bottom right). Scan the same QR code (again) and the app will let you know which slot to return your charger to. You'll get the rest of your money back by clicking on the button at the bottom of the screen.
Here's a screenshot of how many are in the vicinity at Found 158 and the Bund
Whether you’re using the official WeChat account or the app, it will tell you where all the charger boxes are, how to get there, and how many chargers are available for both iPhones and Androids. It also tells you the operating hours of the place and how many empty slots are available for returning your charger.
Bottom line, these chargers seem poised to make life a lot easier. Best part? You can take it with you. And when you’re sick of carrying it around, there's enough docking stations around that you don't have to go too far out of your way to return it.
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