Car­ing for the world by shar­ing

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - 2016-17: REVIEW & PREVIEW - Ma Si RE­PORTER’S LOG

For the past year, I have been liv­ing alone in Bei­jing, away from my par­ents who live in Hu­nan prov­ince. Un­til re­cently, there was some­thing in my neigh­bor­hood that used to an­noy and at­tract me at the same time — the de­li­cious aroma that would em­anate from my neigh­bor’s kitchen.

The di­vine scent would in­stantly tele­port me to my mom’s kitchen thou­sands of miles away. And equally quickly, I’d be jolted back to my senses in my Bei­jing high­rise flat, where I’d or­der yet an­other home-de­liv­ery of an in­sipid meal from a nearby restau­rant.

Ain’t I glad the saga of taste­less com­mer­cial food has ended, thanks to the boom in sharinge­con­omy ven­tures in China.

By plac­ing an or­der through an app, I can now sa­vor au­then­tic Hu­nan cui­sine in the com­fort of my Bei­jing home. Thank you, 2016.

The app I use of­fers per­son­al­ized home-cooked meals to users within a ra­dius of 3 km. The food is pre­pared by home-based en­tre­pre­neur­ial peo­ple who have the where­withal and the time to of­fer such a ser­vice for a fee.

I can visit the app-reg­is­tered host (cook) to pick up my meals or

have the food home-de­liv­ered.

Shar­ing econ­omy truly took hold in China last year and blos­somed into a model of le­git­i­mate main­stream busi­nesses this year.

Cars (cabs), bi­cy­cles, homes, pricey fash­ion, ev­ery­day cloth­ing, bags, ac­ces­sories ... all are be­ing hurled into the shar­ing econ­omy.

Women aged 22 to 35 are lov­ing the new life­style pos­si­bil­i­ties. For 188 yuan ($27) a month, three high­end dresses can be rented at a time, used with no time-limit, and shipped back (for free).

Young­sters find the rent-a-bike busi­nesses “cool”, given their “green” an­gle. A col­lege stu­dent in Shang­hai told me: “It’s cool. I can rent and re­turn the GPS-en­abled bike wher­ever and when­ever I like. By us­ing a bi­cy­cle rather than a fuel-pow­ered ve­hi­cle, I cut my car­bon foot­print.”

Even State-owned firms are jump­ing on the shar­ing econ­omy band­wagon, to make more ef­fi­cient use of re­sources. For in­stance, the coun­try’s big three tele­com car­ri­ers cre­ated a new firm called China Tower by pool­ing their tele­com tower as­sets to avoid con­struc­tion of new tow­ers.

“It is a hard job, harder than many have ex­pected, to man­age a bal­ance be­tween growth and en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion. Shar­ing econ­omy of­fers a good so­lu­tion,” a se­nior ex­ec­u­tive of China Tower said.

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