(Yicai Global) June 4 -- Chinese authorities have unveiled plans to standardize development of the country's rapidly-expanding sharing economy.
The National Development and Reform Commission, the Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology plan to introduce new market access policies, crack down on unfair competition and better handle illegal behavior, Haiwai Online, the overseas arm of state-backed People's Daily, reported today. Some specific rules include improving identify verification and governing online content.
Regulators have always been inclusive and prudent over development of the sharing economy, according to experts. This does not mean abandoning supervision completely, they added, saying that the sector is beginning to enter a period where standardization is a priority. This can be seen in the bike-sharing and ride-hailing sectors, where authorities have already clamped down on foul behavior such as companies dumping bikes or offering excessive discounts, they added.
The nation's sharing economy pulled in CNY4.9 trillion (USD764 billion) in revenue last year, up 47.2 percent annually with more than 700 million people, around half of China's population, partaking in some form of shared activity. Companies running such platforms employ over seven million people, and filled 9.7 percent of new urban job takings last year.
China's State Information Center, a think tank affiliated with the NDRC, believes that the nation's shared economy could average over 30 percent growth a year over the next half decade, with agriculture, education and healthcare among fields that will benefit from its slipstream.
"For now, the shared economy has developed into a trend, and its rapid development has demonstrated the enormous vitality and potential of the Chinese economy," said Guo Xia, a research fellow at Peking University. "At the same time, we should not be aware that the development of the shared economy is still faced with challenges, such as data leakage, protecting user rights, barbaric growth and illicit competition. Better tackling these issues matters a great deal to ensure continuous and healthy development."
Companies being irresponsible are a common cause among issues facing the sector, said Lu Chuncong, director of the Policy and Economy Research Institute at the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology. These problems include a glut of shared bikes, lenient reviews of ride-hailing drivers and fake houses being rented online.
Editor: James Boynton