From basketballs to batteries, China’s sharing economy is on the rise

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July 19, 2017 (LBO) – More than 500 billion dollars worth of transactions were carried out in China’s sharing economy last year, which could grow to 10 percent of China’s GDP by 2020, according to a report from the country’s State Information Center.

“The sharing economy is only as strong as it is in China due to cashless transactions,” Andrew Atkinson, marketing manager at consultancy China Skinny, told CNBC.

Everything from basketballs, bicycles and battery packs are on loan, as startups explore the potential for future profits from these products.

When it comes to bike sharing, Mobike’s orange-and-silver bicycles, Ofo’s yellow ones, sky blue models from Bluegogo, neon green offerings from U-bicycle and rainbow-colored, glow-in-the-dark bikes from Qicai are some of the options available.

After registration and deposit payment is completed, users pay as little as seven US cents for a half hour of use on the GPS-enabled bicycles.

“There are definitely questions about how they make money at 0.5 or one yuan a trip … With the immense investment these companies receive, there is really no urgency for profitability at this stage, just a fight to expand market share,” Atkinson said.

Basketball-sharing service Zhulegeqiu debuted in April this year in Jiaxing, and has expanded to cities including Beijing, Shanghai and Hangzhou, CNBC reported.

Capsule beds for napping, shared phone batteries, and shared electric cars are among the other products on offer.

To drive around in an electric car, EvCard users pay 15 yuan ($2.21) for the first half hour of use, after paying a deposit of around 147 dollars — a rate structure that is cheaper than using a taxi.

Although EvCard makes use of a “station” model, other car-shares have adopted a “station-less” model where users can park their rental cars in any location.

Despite China’s planned quotas on foreign-made electric cars, at least one local service has received support from a local government entity.