The sharing economy refers to the economic phenomenon in which the public shares the idle resources with others through social platforms.
At present, the Sharing economy is developing rapidly all over the world, becoming a new bright spot of economic growth after the financial crisis. The spring breeze of the sharing economy has blown all over China. Dazhou is no exception. In Dazhou, the development of sharing economy is in the ascendant. Innovations in leasing, travel and other fields have made remarkable achievements, which provide new impetus and ideas for the development of Dazhou.
2. Activate the Stock Resources of Dazhou, Improve the Utilization Efficiency of Resources, and Release the New Momentum of Economic Development
With the development of science and technology and the rapid increase of productivity and social wealth, economic surplus has become a new global problem. Economic surplus brings economic surplus resources, which are reflected in idle inventory and idle capacity at the enterprise level, and idle funds and items at the individual level. Sharing economy uses the model of “idle resources and idle time” to reduce the opportunity cost of its production factors. For example, vehicles which the owners do not use or do not want to use for the time being belong to idle resources. Sharing economy is committed to aggregating the information of these idle vehicles into the information platform. Other consumers who need to use vehicles know the conditions of these idle resources through the platform and choose the available vehicles, so as to realize the effective allocation of the use value of vehicles and idle resources. In the field of transportation and travel, Didi Shunfengche transported hundreds of thousands of people to return home before the Spring Festival, alleviating the problem of insufficient transport capacity in the Spring Festival to a certain extent; in the field of idle real estate, some websites promotes the new model of tourist lodging by leasing instead of sales and the development of tourism economy; and in the field of labor service, the crowdsourcing model of online services has been recognized by the society, creating tens of millions of employment opportunities and reflecting the strong adaptability of sharing economy to solve social problems. In addition, in the field of manufacturing, the production innovation brought by the sharing economy has also begun to appear, and the practice of sharing supply chain and resolving enterprise inventory by leasing instead of sales has emerged.
2.1. Sharing Economy Helps to Increase the Employment Rate and Achieve Inclusive Growth in Dazhou
The past five years have been the best five years of employment in China, and also the five years of great development of the sharing economy. The sharing economy has played the role of employment reservoir and stabilizer. Preliminary estimates show that in 2018 the number of people participating in sharing economy activities in Dazhou exceeded 203,000, up by 30% YoY; and among them, the number of people participating in the provision of services was about 70,000, 50,000 more than that of the previous year. In 2018, the number of employees in sharing economy platform enterprises in Dazhou was about 170,000, 130,000 more than that in the previous year, accounting for about 9.7% of the total number of new jobs in cities and towns in that year. This means that about 10 out of 100 new employees in cities and towns are new employees in platform enterprises  .
2.2. Expand Income Channels and Improve People’s Happiness Index
The number of private cars is also increasing rapidly in China. With the development of sharing economy, more and more people will join the sharing platforms. According to the statistics of the Traffic Administration of the Ministry of Public Security, the total number of private cars in China reached 146 million by the end of 2016, with an average of 36 cars per 100 households, and the number of small passenger cars also increased rapidly to 160 million. If these idle private cars can join sharing platforms such as online car hailing, it can not only save production capacity, but also increase the income of car owners and improve people’s happiness index  . Since 2015, with the development of the sharing platforms of online car hailing, many full-time taxi drivers in Dazhou have left this industry. The original traditional taxi consumption model is changing, which has greatly occupied the traditional taxi industry. Many private car owners make use of idle time and idle private cars to be engaged in taxi business.
2.3. Explore and Renew the Concept of Environmental Protection and Help Dazhou with the Construction of Ecological Civilization
Sharing economy changes “idle resources” into “treasure” and makes the best use of everything, which objectively has positive effects on environmental protection. It is also the result of people’s reflection on blind production, excessive consumption, energy crisis, the decline of ecological quality and other phenomena. It implies the exploration of resource-saving and environment-friendly life and lifestyle  . Under the mode of sharing economy, for the tourism industry of Dazhou, 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.
3. Challenges to the Development of Sharing Economy in Dazhou
While improving Dazhou people’s economic life and changing the way of economic development, sharing economy also has some problems and challenges in the development, which are mainly manifested as follows:
1) For the government’s supervision of the sharing economy, the traditional industry management method is still adopted, which is not good for industry innovation.
Dazhou’s existing supervision ideas mainly focus on market access supervision and management through licensing. In the era of sharing economy, a large number of convergent new forms of industries have emerged, breaking through the traditional management mode of subdivision. If the existing supervision mode is directly applied, the supervision effect will be greatly reduced, and it is more likely to directly kill the emerging economic forms of industries. At the same time, in the supervision of the sharing economy, “extensive-security” phenomenon is worth thinking about. Security issues often become an important reason for local governments to deny the sharing economy.
2) Competition and industry conflict between sharing economy organizations and traditional economic organizations.
The development of sharing economy inevitably leads to the contradiction with traditional industries. If not handled properly, it will easily affect social stability. For example, there is the conflict between shared accommodation project and traditional hotels, the conflict between sharing economy projects such as online car hailing and traditional taxi industry, etc. Since 2015, there have been group scuffles and mass strikes in Dazhou. At about 8:30 PM on May 27, 2016, the traffic police found a lot of people gathered at the zebra crossing at the intersection of radio and television, and about 20 taxis surrounded the scene, and then disposed of. The taxi driver told the patrol police that he was forced to stop the black taxi driver because he was stealing passengers from his private car. The didi driver said he was hit by a bloody nose from a taxi driver. However, both sides involved in the incident did not tell the patrol police the first scene where the police found a bloody tissue at the scene, immediately called 110 to call the police, and the scene of traffic diversion and maintenance.
The reason is that any vehicle owner can use this platform to solicit business after online car hailing enters the industry. Full-time taxi drivers bear more taxes than part-time drivers, taxi drivers need to take a cut of their profits to taxi shops and, but part-time drivers don’t need to pay any taxes at all, so part-time taxi drivers must charge lower fares than full-time taxi drivers, which will affect the income of full-time taxi drivers.
In the field of life services, express delivery, door-to-door pick-up and delivery, shared parking spaces and other new forms of industries cannot be separated from the opening of offline scenes. There are obvious conflicts with the closed management regulations of some residential areas, and many disputes have arisen. How to grasp the balance between the cultivation of new forms of industries and the comprehensive management of the city is testing the wisdom of the administrators of the Dazhou municipal government.
3) The credit investigation system and other supporting systems are not perfect.
Credit is the “hard currency” of the sharing economy. The supply and demand sides of the market must establish a mutual trust relationship before the sharing behavior can take place and the transaction can be made. Under the sharing economy, it is necessary to rapidly increase the credit relationship among economic participants through the systems such as second-generation ID card information verification, social account login, friend relationship prompt, personal display and insurance compensation. However, the credit system is not perfect in Dazhou. For example, in the sharing economy, platform enterprises can only rely on commercial credit to review the credit of suppliers  . The credit report issued by the Credit Center of the People’s Bank of China is more authentic and effective. It is difficult for all kinds of administrative credit, including public security, industry and commerce, taxation and customs, to achieve effective docking with platform enterprises, which may lead to certain risks in the qualification audit of service providers by platform enterprises and affect the security of sharing economy.
4) Insufficient infrastructure capacity affects the degree of social participation.
Sharing economy is the product of highly developed Internet. Its demand exists widely between urban and rural areas in Dazhou. However, the construction of Dazhou’s network infrastructure needs further improvement. First of all, although the popularity rate of Internet in Dazhou has increased greatly, there is still a big gap to achieve the popularity rate of 80% and above. Second, the application of mobile broadband 4G and 3G is mainly distributed in downtown of Dazhou, and the development in rural areas is not ideal. Third, the cost of Internet access is still high, and there is room for further reduction.
4. Countermeasures for the Development of Sharing Economy in Dazhou
1) At the cognitive level, we need to further popularize the concept and value of sharing economy and improve the statistical mechanism of sharing economy data.
The Dazhou municipal government can publicize the good effects of the sharing economy on society, economy, environment and employment from social consciousness, school education, and establishment of demonstration sites and villages of sharing economy; encourage college students to participate in the research of entrepreneurship and innovation projects of sharing economy; consciously guide people in the society to eliminate some doubts and misunderstandings about the sharing economy; and ultimately improve Dazhou citizens’ understanding and participation in the sharing economy. In addition, the economic increment data brought by the sharing economy is not reflected in GDP statistics. The Dazhou municipal government can establish a new data collection mechanism to effectively analyze the impact of the sharing economy on GDP and consumption, and provide accurate data analysis for future decision-making of the government.
2) At the supervision level, adhere to inclusive governance and create an open and inclusive supervision environment.
At present, all parts of the country attach great importance to the development of the sharing economy. Many local governments have introduced incentive policies to promote the development of the sharing economy. Facing the differences between the new business model and business model of the sharing economy and the traditional industries, we cannot act in a procrustean way and force new things to conform to the old supervision framework. We should adjust the supervision strategy according to local conditions, adhere to specific analysis of specific problems, timely eliminate the unreasonable rules and regulations that hinder development, and promote the development of the sharing economy. For example, in shared family accommodation, these apartments are mostly in the community environment. In order to obtain income, the owners add some family housing to the family accommodation sharing platform. A large amount of accommodation every day will damage the rights and interests of other owners. Then how should supervision and management agencies deal with and regulate this relationship? We should define the scope of sharing and follow the rules of sharing. Since the sharing economy is a new form of industry in China and is still in its initial stage, the supervision authorities should give more support and help to legal and compliant sharing economy organizations, and grasp the degree in supervision. Over-supervision may be not good for innovation and reduce market efficiency, while the absence of supervision will lead to over-innovation, vicious competition between emerging sharing economy and traditional economic form, and social contradictions.
3) At the level of supporting system, improve the construction of supporting systems such as credit mechanism, and establish the online credit platform for sharing economy.
First, we should vigorously develop the credit market, speed up the construction of the social credit information system, promote the seamless docking of various credit information platforms, and break the information islands; strengthen the online disclosure and sharing of information resources such as credit records, risk warning, and illegal and dishonest behaviors; and provide information query, online identity authentication of enterprise and other services to operators. Second, the insurance system can be introduced into the development of sharing economy. For example, the sharing platform party should pay the insurance premium to the insurance company when collecting every deposit to ensure that the deposit of both suppliers and demanders can be recovered even if it closes down and fundamentally safeguard the rights and interests of suppliers and demanders. The government should accelerate the pace of introducing the third-party credit evaluators, urge enterprises and individuals to evaluate their credit through third-party credit evaluation and other services, combine them with credit index data of the government, and share them on the sharing economy platform, so as to reduce credit risks.
4) Speed up the construction of infrastructure needed by the sharing economy.
We should further strengthen the construction of broadband infrastructure in Dazhou, speed up, reduce fees, and eliminate the digital divide, so that more people can integrate into the platforms of sharing economy and participate in the services of sharing economy. In addition, the sharing economy can also be included in the scope of government procurement, and institutions can be encouraged to use the sharing economic platforms for procurement, transportation, accommodation and other services.
In addition to providing policy support, government departments should also give financial and tax support to platform organizations participating in the sharing economy, such as setting up the sharing economy development fund, and giving tax relief, financial support and venture capital to new sharing platforms. For example, for private cars and public taxis joining the sharing economy platform, tax relief support should be given, and green special access for shared cars should be established to improve the quality of shared services. Second, we should create an atmosphere of resource saving and optimum utilization in the whole society, cultivate the public’s sense of sharing and differentiation, strengthening the propaganda of sharing through various media, and let people see the benefits of sharing in policy and specific practice.
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).