The sharing economy refers to the economic phenomenon in which the public shares the idle resources with others through social platforms.
In 2018, China’s sharing economy continued to maintain a high-speed development trend. New forms of industry and modes continuously emerged. Technological innovation and application accelerated significantly. It played an important role in fostering new momentum of economic development and promoting employment. Its international influence was significantly improved, and it became a prominent highlight of China’s economic transformation and development in the new era.
1) China’s sharing economy continued to grow at a high speed and its structure continued to improve. In 2018, the transaction volume of China’s sharing economy market was about RMB2.942 trillion, up by 41.6% YoY. From the perspective of market structure, the transaction scale of sharing economy in the area of life services, production capacity and transportation ranked the top three, which was RMB1.5894 trillion, RMB823.6 billion and RMB248.7 billion, respectively. From the perspective of the speed of development, production capacity, office sharing and knowledge and skills grew fastest, up by 97.5%, 87.3% and 70.3% YoY, respectively  .
2) Sharing economy not only has become an important choice for people to choose jobs independently and flexibly, but also provides a wide range of employment opportunities for specific groups of society. In 2018, about 76 million people participated in the sharing economy and about 75 million people participated in the provision of services, up by 7.1% YoY. The number of employees on the platform was 5.98 million, up by 7.5% YoY  .
3) The new business models represented by online car-hailing, shared accommodation, online takeout, shared health care and shared logistics have become a new motive force to promote the structural optimization, rapid growth and consumption mode transformation of the service industry. From 2015 to 2018, the proportion of passenger capacity of online car-hailing in total passenger capacity of taxi increased from 9.5% to 36.3%, and the popularity rate of users of online car-hailing increased from 26.3% to 43.2%; the proportion of income of shared accommodation in the income of host room increased from 2.3% to 6.1%, and the popularity rate of users of shared accommodation increased from 1.5% to 9.9%; and the income of online takeout in the income of the catering industry increased from 1.4% to 10.6%, and the popularity rate of users of shared health care increased from 11.1% to 19.9%  .
4) The dramatic changes in the shared bicycle market in the short term have aroused doubts from all walks of life about the industry and even the whole sharing economy. Nevertheless, from the perspective of development prospects, the sharing economy is an innovative combination of technology, system and organizations, which can significantly reduce the costs of mutual search and bargaining between suppliers and demanders in the transaction process, and improve the allocation rate of resources.
2. Future Development Trend of Sharing Economy
1) Sharing economy is expected to transform from initial stage to growth stage in the next five years. With the continuous acceleration of information technology innovation and application, the significant improvement of people’s cognitive level and the improvement of policies and regulations, China’s sharing economy is expected to maintain a high growth rate of 30% and above annually  . Sharing economy will transform from initial stage to growth stage. The field of sharing products and services is becoming wider and wider, from the field of life consumption to production, manufacturing, public services, society and people’s livelihood; the competition between platform enterprises will become increasingly fierce, there will be more and more industry mergers and acquisitions, refined operation will become the focus of enterprise competition; and compared with the initial period, in the future the improvement of overall development quality of sharing economy will be paid more attention to.
2) Agriculture, education, health care and elderly care are expected to become the new “outlets” of the sharing economy.
Facing the growing needs of people for a better life, the report of the Nineteenth National Congress of the Party proposed a series of specific goals and measures. In the future period, agriculture, education, health care, elderly care and other fields may become the “outlets” of the sharing economy. The common characteristics of these areas include concern about people’s livelihood, obvious pain points, a lot of market demands, and active exploration of business models which have not been formed  . From the perspective of actual demands, the gap between urban and rural areas is still large, and there is an urgent need to increase farmers’ income, improve their living standards and build beautiful countryside; the contradiction between the insufficient supply and the increasing demands of high-quality education resources and high-quality medical resources is still outstanding; and the trend of population aging is obvious, the demand for elderly care services is increasing, and there is an urgent need to introduce a sharing economy model to achieve the reallocation of high-quality resources. With the introduction of relevant policies and the close attention to the capital market, the sharing economy in the field of people’s livelihood is expected to become a new “outlet” for explosive growth.
3) The development of sharing economy will gradually become standardized.
While actively encouraging the development of sharing economy, for the outstanding problems in practice, especially those directly affecting the interests of people, customizing the supervision system has become the general trend. For problems such as financial fraud which may lead to systematic risks, arbitrary infringement of rights and interests of user data, and serious obstruction of municipal appearance management, targeted governance will be strengthened. In the future, the government will create a fair and orderly market environment, actively innovate supervision methods, promote opening and sharing of public data, speed up the improvement of the legal system, and vigorously promote pilot demonstrations  .
4) The two-way promotion of credit system construction and sharing economy development will be more prominent.
Sharing economy is a typical credit economy, which is characterized by “absent” transactions between strangers. The two-way promotion of sharing economy and credit system will be more prominent. Data from Sesame Credit Platform, which provides data and technical support for the construction of the credit system, shows that the default rate of rent for deposit-free customers is 52%, the default rate of illegal fines is 27% and the loss rate of bicycles is 46% lower than those of deposit-paying customers  . Relevant departments will actively promote the seamless docking of various types of credit information, break information islands; promote the establishment of information sharing and cooperation mechanism among government, enterprises and third parties; and actively guide platform enterprises to use big data technology, two-way evaluation of user, third-party certification, credit rating and other means and mechanisms to improve the credit records of relevant subjects. At the same time, they will speed up the construction of the joint mechanism of incentive for honesty and punishment for dishonesty, establish a “red and black list” of honesty, and form a normative development system of sharing economy with credit as the core.
3. Development Prospects of Sharing Economy in Dazhou
In the next five years (2018-2023), Dazhou should seize the opportunity of sharing economy; give full play to its local advantages; firmly adhere to the overall goal of “simultaneous and comprehensive well-off and comprehensive modernization”; vigorously implement strategies of “reform and innovation, overall planning of urban and rural areas, and openness and cooperation”; strive to construct new patterns of “modern agricultural development, modern industrial development, modern service industry development, urban-rural integration development and deepening of reform and opening-up”; and accelerate the construction of Happy and Beautiful Dazhou. Sharing economy is an alternative model.
1) Agriculture, education, health care and elderly care can become the new development direction of sharing economy in Dazhou.
In the coming period, we will work hard to solve the most direct and most realistic interests of the people, safeguard and improve people’s livelihood, and satisfy the people’s “children’s education, learning, education, income, medical care, and old age”. The urgent need to live and live in a weak place will become an important task for China’s economic and social development. In this context, agriculture, education, medical care, and pensions may all become the “windows” of the sharing economy. The common characteristics of these areas are: people’s livelihood concerns, obvious pain points, high market demand, and business models are actively exploring but not yet formed.
From the perspective of actual demands, the gap between urban and rural areas in Dazhou is still large, and there is an urgent need to improve farmers’ income, improve their living standards and build beautiful countryside; the contradiction between the insufficient supply and the increasing demands of high-quality education resources and high-quality medical resources is still outstanding; and the trend of population aging is obvious, the demand for elderly care services is increasing, and there is an urgent need to introduce a sharing economy model to achieve the reallocation of high-quality resources. From the perspective of development basis, rural areas in Dazhou have a large number of land, water conservancy facilities, agricultural machinery and equipments, labor and other resources. The development of shared agriculture has a good material basis. Dazhou can use the model of sharing economy to promote the construction of Modern Agriculture Integration and Development Demonstration Area, Comprehensive Demonstration Area of Agricultural Construction, Happy and Beautiful New Village Demonstration Area, Comprehensive Experimental Area of Rural Reform, and Leading Area of Poverty Alleviation; and make “seven actions”, including quality and efficiency improvement of modern agriculture, the construction of happy and beautiful new villages, ecological green development, rural infrastructure construction, rural reform, rural governance and construction and targeted poverty alleviation. It will vigorously develop modern agriculture with characteristics, actively cultivate new agricultural operators, and build a “rice field+” pastoral complex with high quality. It will vigorously implement the “three-year action plan” for rural environmental renovation, create an upgraded version of happy and beautiful new villages, and build a batch of unique, beautiful and livable new villages and dwellings in Ba Mountain.
2) Add poverty alleviation platforms and make use of the mode of sharing economy to achieve targeted and efficient poverty alleviation.
There are tens of thousands of poor people in Dazhou. In order to achieve targeted and efficient poverty alleviation, it must find the root of poverty and cure the causes of poverty. The causes of poverty differ in many ways. In order to achieve targeted poverty alleviation, the premise is to accurately identify the poor and make specific analysis of specific cases, so as to make targeted and operable poverty alleviation measures according to local conditions and household conditions. The poverty-stricken areas of Dazhou have clear waters and green hills, and good ecology, where tourist attractions have not been developed. Dazhou can be planned as a large scenic spot. Hundreds of characteristic industrial towns and thousands of beautiful villages are all specific scenic spots, rural tourist spots, beautiful town tourist spots, vacation and health spots, national folk experience points, new format bearing points and so on in a big scenic area. If we combine tourism with poverty alleviation, Dazhou may be able to find a special way out of poverty. Green hills and clear waters are invaluable assets. Poor households living in green hills and clear waters should be supported by the government. We should vigorously promote the construction of ecological human settlements, ecological economy and ecological culture in these places; clarify the key projects of “point, surface and line”; and cultivate beautiful rural scenic spots with natural endowments and local cultural characteristics, so as to satisfy the diversified tourism consumer demands, combine with poverty alleviation work, and really teach people to fish.
3) Innovate Dazhou’s tourism service mode and promote the reform of tourism supply side in Dazhou.
In the scenario of tourism sharing economy, the residents of tourist destination take their own idle resources or labor resources as capital to participate in reception services through sharing platform, which has stronger autonomy, selectivity and creativity. In the scenario of sharing economy, the Internet can better integrate the fragmented idle resources owned by the residents of the tourist destination, and build a communication bridge with tourists who have such demands. The residents of the tourist destination transform their idle space, time, assets, skills, catering and other services into reception capacity through the network platform to meet the diversified needs of tourists, who do as the Romans do, and live in homes of residents. The landlord serves as a guide to tell local stories, provides in-depth experience of local culture, and brings tourists a different kind of value-added enjoyment. This mode of tourism service supply is scattered, non-standard and non-professional. It can better satisfy the individualized needs of tourists and make the all-for-one tourism more attractive.
4) Sharing economy can explore and renew the concept of environmental protection, turn idle resources into treasure, make the best use of everything, and objectively play a positive role in environmental protection in Dazhou.
Shared consumption is an alternative to increase the resource utilization rate, enhance the sustainable development, reduce waste and reduce environmental damage. Under the mode of sharing economy, for the tourist industry, when residents provide idle rooms and cars to tourists, it means that the life cycle of items is extended, the consumption of new products is reduced from the source, and the construction of accommodation equipments, the production of automobiles, the loss of resources and energy, and negative impact on the ecological environment are reduced. It is an acceptable, feasible and operable way of sustainable tourism. In addition, shared tourism consumption is also embodied in the concept of product life cycle management and source control. It is a useful discussion of practicing circular economy and low-carbon economy, and is good for environmental protection and ecological civilization construction of tourist destinations. It plays a key role in advocating a green lifestyle, and developing green institutions, green communities, green enterprises, green campuses, green families and other activities.
As a new economic form, a new resource allocation method and a new concept of development, the sharing economy still faces many challenges in its rapid development, such as inadaptability of laws and regulations, difficulty in accessing public data, urgent need to establish a statistical monitoring system and other common problems. The problem of protecting users’ rights and interests is further highlighted. The contradiction between the development of the new form of industry and the lag of traditional territorial management, urban management and theoretical research is more prominent. Therefore, government departments should actively encourage the development of sharing economy. At the same time, for the outstanding problems in practice, especially those directly affecting the interests of people, they should customize the supervision system, which has become the general trend. At the same time, the construction of the multi-party cooperative governance system should be accelerated to provide new impetus and new ideas for the development of Dazhou.
Theoretical and practical study on how Dazhou can realize sharing-mode development. It is a phased research outcome of a 2019 scientific research project of Dazhou Social and Scientific Association. The project herein is supported by innovation team of Sichuan University of Arts and Science that conducts researches on development of community services (No. SASU 2014112-10).
 Sharing Economy Working Committee, Internet Society of China, Department of Information Research, National Information Center (2019) China Sharing Economy Development Report 2019. http://www.sic.gov.cn/News/568/9906.htm