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China takes measures to boost sharing economy

Xu Wei
Updated: Jun 21,2017 8:52 PM

A guideline to further boost the blossoming sharing economy was approved at a State Council executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang on June 21.

According to the guideline, the sector will enjoy easier access, greater policy transparency, and better protection of legitimate rights for platform companies, resource providers and consumers. The guideline is aimed at creating an enabling environment for sustained innovation.

“We should give credit to the sharing economy as a reinvigorating force in China’s economic growth,” Premier Li said.

“The country’s sharing economy enabled by Internet Plus has been instrumental in absorbing excess capacity and creating new jobs through its various new business models.”

China’s sharing economy is likely to sustain its momentum of 40 percent annual growth in the coming years, according to a report in February.

According to the report, the market turnover of the sharing economy in 2016 reached 3.45 trillion yuan ($505.4 billion), up by 103 percent year-on-year.

In 2016, the sharing economy served around 600 million people in China. There were 5.85 million people who were on the payroll of sharing economy platforms, 850,000 more than in 2015.

“Regulations for the sharing economy should be tolerant while prudent, as there is still much yet to be learned about new business models. We should avoid simply applying traditional methodology on the sharing economy,” the Premier said.

Going forward, the authorities are tasked with improving public services in terms of data sharing, government service procurement, urban planning and resource management innovation, the guideline said.

Financial institutions are encouraged to provide innovative services and products tailored to the needs of companies in the sector.

The government also will get creative with taxation with other measures to facilitate the sector’s growth, not least in creating new jobs.

Companies with cutting edge aspects are encouraged to go global, establish their presence and build their brands.

In the meantime, malpractices, including illegal disclosure or abuse of personal information of consumers, and illegal competition methods will face the full weight of the law.

“China is a country vast in size and diversified demands, still industrializing and urbanizing. There are a lot of resources and capacities that could be put to better uses,” Premier Li said.

“Government at different levels should take the initiative with the big picture in mind, striking a balance between ‘enabling’ regulation and risk preparedness, in our effort to build a level playing field for all to compete and excel,” he added.