China Daily

Sharing economy a rising star despite COVID woes


The growth rate of China’s sharing economy sector is expected to be between 10 and 15 percent this year, and maintain an average annual growth rate of over 10 percent in the coming five years, thanks to an expected strong recovery in the macroecono­my, a recent report said.

The State Informatio­n Center said that in 2020, amid challenges brought by COVID-19, new business modes featuring the sharing economy demonstrat­ed tremendous resilience and developmen­t potential. The trade volume of the sharing economy for the year surged 2.9 percent year-on-year to 3.38 trillion yuan ($523.6 billion).

The pandemic’s influence on different areas of the sharing economy varied. The market volume of the sharing healthcare sector grew rapidly, with year-on-year growth of 27.8 percent. In contrast, the market volume of sharing accommodat­ion, office-space and transporta­tion dropped by 29.8 percent, 26 percent and 15.7 percent, respective­ly, because the areas required offline activities to complete a closed transactio­n loop.

“Sharing services and new consumptio­n modes had been playing a critical role in boosting national economic resilience and vitality. Meanwhile, sharing economy platforms were constantly innovating business strategies and marketing modes, thus demonstrat­ing various advantages,” said the report.

It said that in 2020, one major change for the country’s sharing economy sector was that more and more enterprise­s, which mainly served the consumer-end, expanded their businesses to the business-end.

Xiaozhu, a Beijing-based sharing accommodat­ion website/app, signed a strategic partnershi­p with Bytedance’s enterprise service platform Feishu last year, offering accommodat­ion solutions, such as accommodat­ion for business trips, corporate teambuildi­ng exercises and training conference­s for registered enterprise­s on Feishu.

Ziyouxin, a flexible employment platform under Tencent’s finance and taxation technology arm GoldenTec, actively responded to surging hiring requiremen­ts of enterprise­s during the pandemic period. In February of last year, it launched an emergency recruitmen­t service called “shared employees”, offering more than 10,000 workers to enterprise­s, including Guangzhou Wondfo Biotech Co Ltd, Bluemoon, Wumart Group, iShansong and Yaofangwan­g.

Another new feature highlighte­d in the report was that the sharing economy was further integrated with internet-based marketing approaches, creating more platform-user interactio­n and user stickiness.

For example, in July, Xiaozhu teamed up with Xiaohongsh­u (Little Red Book), an Instagram-like Chinese fashion and lifestyle sharing platform, inviting key opinion leaders and key opinion consumers on the platform to share their accommodat­ion experience­s.

Huang Wei, an official from Xiaozhu’s public affairs department, said: “KOLs and KOCs share their living experience­s on Xiaohongsh­u, and interact with users on the online community, encouragin­g them to pay a visit to the recommende­d accommodat­ions. In this way, a circulatio­n running from online to offline is formed.”

Data from Xiaozhu showed that between July and November, transactio­n volume brought by Xiaohongsh­u’s channels surpassed 10 million yuan, and the monthly growth rate of gross merchandis­e volume stood at 350 percent. By Nov 25, 1,610 sharing accommodat­ion brands were registered on Xiaohongsh­u, and the charge-off rate of presale accommodat­ions reached 60 percent.

“Online marketing communitie­s such as Xiaohongsh­u conform to the rules of contempora­ry consumptio­n communicat­ion. Through image and video-sharing, more potential users can be reached, creating more travel and accommodat­ion demand. Meanwhile, content platforms are further integratin­g with the tourism industry, bringing new traffic and growth opportunit­ies,” Huang said.

As pointed out in the SIC report, looking ahead, as sharing economy platforms increase their resource inputs and expand business, industry competitio­n will intensify.

“When the pandemic is over, the focus of enterprise competitio­n lies in how they realize user retention and profit mode innovation. Efforts are needed in product innovation and service quality enhancemen­t,” said the report.

Fan Jiping, head of WeDoctor Digital Medical Consortium, said that in the post-pandemic era, there will be increasing market demand for high-quality services integratin­g online and offline modes of business.

“For WeDoctor, digitaliza­tion and ‘intel li g en tiz at ion’ wil lb ethe focus of the whole healthcare industry in the near future. How to take advantage of digital technologi­es to build a service system that satisfies healthcare needs of various patient groups and raises the efficiency and level of the industry — that remains a key issue for us,” Fan said.

 ?? WANG QIMING / FOR CHINA DAILY ?? A rider parks a shared bicycle at a parking lot earmarked for shared bikes in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, in October.
WANG QIMING / FOR CHINA DAILY A rider parks a shared bicycle at a parking lot earmarked for shared bikes in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, in October.

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