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共享經濟熱 獨角獸孵化機 (2019-05-07 IEK產業情報網 )

Driven by the Internet + and mobile payments, the shared economy took off in China in 2014 and created huge business opportunities and economic momentum. Shared bikes, cars, power banks, basketballs and even vegetable gardens have flourished in different business models and have increasingly attracted attention from other parts of the world.
According the most recent annual report on the shared economy published in China, the market has a value of 4,920.5 billion Chinese yuan (or NT$ 2.2 trillion), up 47% year-on-year, with over 700 million participants. Shared finance was the biggest category, with trading volumes reaching 2,800 billion Chinese yuan. In terms of job creation, the shared economy employed a total of 7.16 million people in 2017, up by 1.31 million from 2016. Approximately 10% of new jobs were in the shared economy.
The booming of the shared economy in China has created over 30 unicorns (companies valued at above $1bn and established within the last 10 years). Both Mobike and ofo made it into the league within two years of commencing operations. However, not all the shared economy business models have worked. Capital and companies all rushed in to pursue the huge market potential, and the result was homogeneous offerings and cut-throat price wars. Disputes with consumers arose, with complaints about information leakage, deposit returns and a lack of consumer protection mechanisms. Shared economy disasters have been a bitter lesson for many. The massive graveyard of shared bikes has become an alternative landscape in the cities. Shared umbrellas were taken private by consumers the moment they were launched. Shared cab drivers caused a security concern due to a lack of robust screening. Many shared economy platforms collapsed, sometimes at the expense of urban and environmental damage, after the party has come to an end.
Whilst consumer behavior challenged the public goods nature of the shared economy, the absence of regulatory regimes for this new business model was the other main reason for the chaos. For instance, there was no regulatory oversight for the large number of digital platforms. In fact, it was not clear which competent authorities should be keeping an eye on this new industry. All these factors affected the quality of the shared economy development. This was why China proposed two improvement measures covering all aspects of the shared economy in July 2017 and May 2018.
In July 2017, the National Development & Reform Commission (NDRC) of China released the Instructive Opinions on the Promotion of Shared Economy Development. The emphasis is on market oversight and information monitoring. The purpose is to synchronize supply and demand, redefine the market entry strategy for different sectors and platforms, improve the governance of consumer information and the protection of consumers’ rights, and ensure the collection of tax revenues. It is proposed that shared platforms should connect with national credit ratings agencies and should disclose their operating status. The vision is to sufficiently define the norms and regulations on the shared economy and set the right tone for future market developments.
The proposed regulatory regime will hopefully rectify the market disorder in the shared economy, particularly with regards to the liability of business owners and the protection of consumer information.
That said, more and detailed regulations are in order, to ensure proper implementation, such as the geographic coverage and scope of supervisory oversight. For instance, taxi hailing falls into territorial management. Platform operators must apply for different licenses in different localities. Shared flats/apartments necessitate the involvement of multiple regulators, i.e. operation, taxation, commerce, public safety, fire prevention. This leads to confusion regarding the division of regulatory responsibilities. As the competent authorities gradually tighten their governance, new shared economy platforms may experience difficulty in obtaining permits, the limitation of their operations and the suppression of innovations. In sum, China is attempting to gradually construct a market order by dealing with the chaos of the shared economy. The net result, it should create more benefits than problems. According to the State Information Center of China, the shared economy will transit from the take-off stage to steady growth over the next five years, with the market maturing and regulatory frameworks coming into being.
本文原刊載於IEK產業情報網,著作權為工研院產科國際所所有。
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