Shared economy branches out

By Ouyang Shijia in Beijing and Wang Ying in Shanghai | China Daily | 2017-07-24 07:15

Shared economy branches out

Customers use mobile phone chargers in a restaurant in Shanghai last month. This is a growing part of China's shared economy. [Photo by Hai Xin/China Daily]

There are still some glitches, but experts voice optimism

Smartphone run out of battery? Need some fancy dresses to attend a wedding or a drinking party?

The sharing economy, already buoyed by the success of ride-hailing and bike-sharing giants such as Didi Chuxing and Ofo Inc, can help.

These and other services are part of a broader sharing-economy boom sweeping across China. Fueled by forward-thinking investors and venture capital firms, startups pop up across the country to offer a wide range of sharing services, extending into far more businesses than their foreign counterparts do.

Bicycles, homes, pricey fashion, everyday clothing, basketballs, umbrellas ... all are being hurled into the magical sharing model in China.

According to a report jointly released by the State Information Center and the Internet Society of China, the country's sharing economy transactions were worth about 3.45 trillion yuan ($510 billion) last year. And it is expected to grow to more than 10 percent of China's gross domestic product by 2020. China's GDP was 74.41 trillion yuan in 2016 and is projected to grow by 6 to 7 percent annually over the next few years.

"I believe the market for the sharing economy will be huge," said Liu Mengyuan, who founded to provide subscription-based rental clothing services, including everyday clothing and high-end luxury dresses, for women in China. "So huge even the clothing rental sales will exceed 1 trillion yuan in the foreseeable future. And China's large population is a big opportunity for us."

Founded in 2015, Yi23 offers users more than 200 brands and different subscription plans. For example, paying 499 yuan a month, consumers can rent three items at a time.

The platform serves more than 100 cities in China, and has over 4 million registered members. They can keep the rented clothing items as long as they want, and then ship them back for free and order new ones.

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