The sharing economy has emerged as a major force in China, with Beijing forecasting robust growth until 2023.
The State Information Center’s Sharing Economy Research Center (分享经济研究中心) expects China’s sharing economy to maintain an annual growth rate of over 30% for the next five years, with agriculture, education, health and aged care highlighted as potential focal areas.
China’s sharing economy has seen roaring growth in recent years, with a total of 4.9 trillion yuan in market transactions in 2017 for year-on-year growth of 47.2%.
Over 700 million people in China took part in sharing economy transactions last year, for a year-on-year increase of around 100 million people.
Sharing economy platforms in China also employed approximately 7.16 million people in 2017, for a YoY increase of 1.31 million, accounting for 9.7% of all new urban jobs that year.
The stunning growth of China’s sharing economy has also created its fair share of problems, including concerns over information privacy, resource wastage and unfair competition.
In response to these concerns, the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology have just jointly issued the “Notice Concerning Work in Relation to the Proper Guidance and Standardisation of the Healthy and Sound Development of the Sharing Economy” (关于做好引导和规范共享经济健康良性发展有关工作的通知).
The Notice stresses market entry policies, fair competition and the strict handling of illegal or non-compliant conduct, in a move that analysts say marks a sharp change from the formerly accommodating attitude of Chinese regulators.
“The sharing economy has already grown into a trend,” said Guo Xia (郭夏), a special researcher at the China Strategic Research Center of Peking University to state media. “Its rapid growth demonstrates the immense vitality and potential of the Chinese economy.
“At the same time however we must also note that growth in the sharing economy currently faces a number of challenges, including personal information leaks, protection of user interests and inappropriate competition.
“Effectively resolving these issues will be of the utmost importance to the continued, healthy growth of the sharing economy.
“The Notice may be interpreted as a response to the recent emergence of these new problems and circumstance in relation to the sharing economy.”