Trends are fickle, fickle things. You never know when one is going to blow up and become part of mainstream society or if it will fizzle and die quicker than the cutest kitten video on YouTube. It’s nice to be the trendsetter, but no one wants to be the loser that is ‘so five-minutes ago.’
While no one ever wants to be the ‘un-cool’ person in the room, the risk is a lot greater for business. Jumping on a perceived trend early can be the easy road to success as everyone comes to you to fill their need. However, if the trend fizzles it could mean a quick end to an entrepreneurial dream and the loss of thousands if not millions of dollars.
That could explain why the self storage industry has been slow to catch on in some countries, but it appears to be breaking through in one of the most populous ones—China.
In a nation of over 1.3 billion people one would think that space, or lack thereof, would eventually become an issue and the demand for self storage would be intense. It has yet to really catch on, but interest is on the rise.
"Sometimes our clients store their household wares here so that they could rent out an extra room," said Chen Yu, executive customer manager of Youyou Space, China’s first self storage facility, in Shanghai.” We've got both individual and corporate clients, and the majority of our customers are either white-collar workers or foreigners."
One company is confident enough in thee potential the industry has that it has decided to try something that a lot of American self storage companies likely would not. They are sticking a self storage facility right in the midst of a high end housing compound in Shanghai.
The Vanke Group is one of the largest real estate developers in the country. They will be placing the self storage facility in its Vanke City Garden complex. The company is still working out a lot of the details, but it promises to offer a wide variety of spaces that will be under constant surveillance.
For many in the neighborhood the idea of self storage is very new, but they are warming up to it and safety is a big concern.
"It's still a new thing. If safety could not be ensured, I prefer storing spare stuff at home as it feels more secure," Jin Aimiao, a local university student said.
“Storage goes next to homes in suburbia.” English.Eastday.com; 19 July 2012.
“Nascent storage industry taking off.” ChinaDaily.com; 03 February 2012.