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Sub-anchor: Sharing economy making big impact in China


07-11-2016 05:38 BJT

For more on this, we are joined in the studio by our very own Jin Yingqiao.

Q1. Yingqiao, it seems to be a very novel business idea, to use your expertise to answer a question for a fee.

Indeed, and I want to talk more about the idea of sharing economy. A lot of areas have jumped on this bandwagon, people make money, simply by sharing things. For example, Xiaozhuduanzu -- the Chinese equivalent of the short-term house rental platform airBnB -- has made it rather easy for house owners to let their vacant rooms while, for tourists, it opens the door for a more authentic local experience.

Another example, car pooling, the government actually encourages that there are apps like Didi that link car owners and poolers together. It's an age when mobile Internet is encroaching into so many traditional industries. But there's one stronghold that's still standing. Chinese people really value Guanxi, or "their connections", and a lot of work still gets done thru these.

For instance, when a Chinese parent is helping their kid to choose a major for college, and they haven't friends who are academics or career advisers, they may just work through their connections, and somehow end up buying a dinner or a gift for a friend of a friend who can offer some qualified guidance. A good way of doing things. But costly in terms of time and money. But here come apps like Fenda, where you can consult an expert in so many different fields. The only premium is the price-tag, but you cut out all the frustrating elements of networking and it's all facilitated by mobile Internet.

Q2. So essentially you are sharing knowledge as a product and more and more Chinese people are willing to pay for these products. Tell us more.

Right, and the trick of the app is, as a regular user, if you want to listen to an existing answer, you also need to pay one yuan. And that goes to both the person who answered as well as the one who asked the question originally. So people who ask good questions can benefit and can even profit. In a certain respect, the fee they paid to ask a question can be seen as an investment.

It's indeed the economy of knowledge but, on the other hand, it's also what's being called the "fan economy", there's a theory called the "theory of 1,000 true fans". It says that if you have 1,000 true fans, then you'll be able to make a living wherever you go in the world. The human being becomes a business model in themselves, through whatever channel. With the support of hard-core fans, they are able to capitalize on it. In China, we can see this up close. That is, people need higher quality products to satisfy their needs in other words, the demand is there, but the supply is lacking. That's why the country is calling out for supply-side reform. And people are also more than willing to fork out for the information they require.

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