The sharing economy—with its many synonyms like gig economy, peer economy, collaborative economy—is estimated to add hundreds of billions of dollars to the global market and is rapidly growing. While Uber and Airbnb made great inroads into Asia from the West, Asia also fostered its own string of startups, where Go-Jek, Grab, and Alipay have become household names.But some long-standing issues remain. This week, we look at how sharing-based businesses can restructure systemic design flaws and jump on new opportunities.
🚙 Asia’s sharing economy needs to change if it wants to stay
- Sharing economy blooms despite Covid woes - Since the pandemic started, more millennials have used sharing-based digital platforms to make living in a lockdown more bearable. [Straits Times]
- Finding win-win ways to stay afloat - A different type of sharing came about as the pandemic surged through China: worker-sharing. Both businesses and their employees saw this as a lifeline at the height of the pandemic which allowed them to shed usual costs whilst continuing to keep their employees employed. China’s sharing services and new consumption modes were critical in boosting China’s economic resilience and vitality. [Quartz, China Daily]
- Re-aligning priorities - As for the rest of Asia, the pandemic gave sharing-based businesses the chance to re-examine what their customers’ real needs are and where opportunities truly lie. They have since re-aligned their priorities and now focus on their core business strengths. Airbnb, for example, reduced hotel investments, shifting its focus back to renting private homes. [CNA]
- Having a fair share with regulation - Although the ideals of the sharing economy have given way to relentless corporate pursuit of profits, experts maintain that the sharing economy is here to stay, as digital technologies continue to pervade many aspects of everyday life. But for the sharing economy to thrive, there needs to be better regulation that not only protects consumer interests and fair employment, but also checks on the neglect and greed of sharing-based firms. [East Asia Forum, CNA]
🔍 Dive deeper...
- Opinion: Airbnb and DoorDash IPOs leave gig economy issues unresolved
- Insights from Grab: Pressing issues of SE Asia’s gig economy
- The sharing economy’s next target is business-to-business (B2B)
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