Sharing Economy

The Sharing Economy Is Absolutely Blowing Up in China

The Sharing Economy Is Absolutely Blowing Up in China
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The sharing economy in China is absolutely exploding.

It was already worth about $299 billion (1.956 trillion yuan) in 2015 and it’s expected to grow at an annual rate of 40 percent over the next five years, according a new report from China’s government think tank called the National Information Center.

By 2020, the sharing economy will be worth 10 percent of China’s gross domestic product, according to a summary of the report. (The full report is only available in Chinese, which, sadly, this reporter doesn’t read.)

The sharing economy is a relatively fluid term including businesses that depend on technology connecting people who need a particular service or product with somebody else who has that service or product available. Sharing-economy businesses favor accessibility over ownership. The most popular examples in the U.S. include Airbnb and Uber, but in addition to lodging and transportation, the sharing economy also includes the exchange of knowledge, skills and production capacities, according to the report from China’s National Information Center.  

Related: Uber's Fight to Win China

Currently, there are 50 million people working in the sharing economy in China, which is equivalent to 5.5 percent of the total working population, according to the report. There are 500 million people who are customers of the sharing economy in China.

Uber, even as it dominates the U.S., has certainly met its match with Chinese ride-sharing company Didi Kuaidi. The Chinese Uber competitor has recently been valued at $7 billion based on a $2 billion funding round closed in January.

Over the next decade, China will grow between five and 10 similarly massive Internet sharing economy companies, according to the report.

Related: Carpooling Startup Tripda Runs Out of Gas, to Shut Down

To be sure, these kind of estimates are a bit inspirational. China wants to motivate its own entrepreneurial community with these sorts of lofty ideals and the best part about predictions in a new industry is that there’s really no way to prove if they are accurate or not. Even still, the confidence that China’s government agency is pumping out is noteworthy. And even the notion that China’s pie-in-the-sky dreams end up being even half true is a pretty bold harbinger of the momentum of the sharing economy.
Edition: October 2016

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