The sharing economy1 is the only business model for the future, the sharing economy solves the woes of urbanization, its big data can build trust at home and across borders, it is the new civilization, a way to export ethics—and so far only China is in any position to exploit it. The Chinese government is already helping companies such as ofo to take its sharing platform global. These were some of the opinions expressed at a high-level meeting held on the sharing economy in Beijing last month.

Following on from the BRICS Forum in Xiamen, the China Chamber of International Commerce (CCOIC) held the BRICS Forum on the Sharing Economy where academics, officials and the founders of Didi, Ofo, Xiaozhu, Taxify, and Ola shared their views on the future of the shared economy and China’s role in it, in some cases via the Belt and Road Initiative that China has launched to drive development through revitalized Silk Road trade routes.

Xu Yu, deputy director for Information Development at the Cyberspace Administration of China, started the event with some statistics on how mass entrepreneurship will expand employment: The sharing economy is now worth RMB 345.2 billion ($52.33 billion), up 103% year on year. There are over 1,000 companies in the sector and has created 60 million jobs, a situation that is expected to increase further as Liang Hong, deputy director of International Trade & Economic Affairs at the Ministry of Commerce, reiterated the RMB 500 million e-commerce agreement announced by Xi Jinping in Xiamen (the Economic and Technical Cooperation Plan for BRICS Countries).

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Frank Hersey

Frank Hersey is a Beijing-based tech reporter who's been coming to China since 2001. He tries to go beyond the headlines to explain the context and impact of developments in China's tech sector. Get in...