As the emerging economic pattern in the 2000s, the Sharing economy has been developing rapidly around the world with drivers from social, economic, and technological aspects (Puschmann & Alt, 2016). Globally speaking, as Curtis & Lehner (2019) mentioned, the total value of sharing economy worldwide will reach $335 billion in 2025, compared with $15 billion in 2015. As for China, according to Liu, Chan, Wang & Yang (2020), the growth rate of its market size even reached 95.74% in 2016. However, China’s sharing economy of the mobility industry has still suffered setbacks in recent years, such as the business failure of the famous bike-sharing platform ofo, which was caused by the ruptured capital chain and the incomplete supervision system (Ma, 2020). Thus, there is still an ongoing debate regarding the sustainability of China’s sharing economy in the mobility industry. Nevertheless, after a close analysis from both theoretical and practical perspectives, the sharing economy in China’s mobility industry is now gradually forming a mature system, and its sustainable development is entirely feasible.

Theoretically speaking, China’s sharing economy in the mobility industry has basically formed a mature operation pattern. It is said that there are several essential elements in the organization of sharing economy, including access over ownership, idle capacity, ICT-mediated, consumer-to-consumer, and others (Curtis & Lehner, 2019). As for China, the society had already held these elements, and the framework for the long-term operation of this system has been established (Zheng, 2017). In addition, according to Zhang, Shi & Li (2019), the ecosystem of sharing mobility industry had almost been shaped because different sectors, including network operators, third-party platforms, automobile production and procurement, transportation, venture capital companies, insurance, and even universities, can participate in the same automobile sharing business. Also, by using Social Network Analysis (SNA) to examine a typical company Didi, Zhang et al. (2019) indicated, there are 8 special car-sharing enterprises, 9 third-party platforms, 5 automobile manufacturing enterprises, and 8 insurance and venture capital companies that interacted with Didi. This means that in China’s mobility industry, sharing economy is closely involved with different sectors and synthesized as a complete industrial chain, which can be regarded as a mature operation pattern. Therefore, theoretically, with the mature operation pattern, it is foreseeable that China’s sharing mobility industry can maintain sustainable development.

From a practical perspective, China has possessed a sufficiently huge market and advanced Internet technology to support the sustainability of sharing economy in the mobility industry. As the data showed from 2015 to 2018, the popularizing rate of online users in the mobility sharing industry increased from 26.3% to 43.2% (Zhang et al., 2019), which means there are sufficient providers and consumers to maintain the function of the sharing economy system. Additionally, as the study made by Hu, Huang, Cheng & Lu (2019) suggested, several China’s enterprises had equipped with internal factors, including entrepreneurship, teamwork and users’ data bank, and external factors, such as supply chain and rival competition for the formation of a sustainable sharing business model. This manifests that China’s sharing mobility industry has a huge market, adequate capital and talents to sustain its vitality. Moreover, one of the essentials in the sharing economy is Internet technology because it combines all kinds of resources and information (Liu et al., 2020). As the country with the largest population on the Internet, China possessed advanced Internet technology to sustain the growth of the sharing economy in the mobility industry. Besides, with the speedy development of mobile payment in recent years, China’s sharing economy had made sizeable progress (Zhang et al., 2019). Thus, practically speaking, along with the vast market and the advanced Internet technology, China’s sharing economy in the mobility industry is going to form a mature system for sustainable development.

Admittedly, some claim that the lack of supervision systems in China’s sharing mobility industry might have a negative effect on its sustainability. As Zhang et al. (2019) suggested, the lack of supervision is the bottleneck problem of China’s sharing mobility industry, for it is possible to cause dishonesty, privacy, and security issues. However, this problem can be solved through regulatory approaches, particularly a multi-party regulatory approach, including government regulation, market-based regulation, and self-regulation (Jiang & Wang, 2020). Theoretically, with effective government regulation, the government can formulate several specific policies, which will fill the loopholes in the industrial chain, reduce the risk of capital chain rupture, and promote the stabilization of China’s sharing economy. In addition, with market-based regulation and self-regulation, there is a high possibility that enterprises and individuals run businesses more rationally, for they should take the competition of rivals and the reputation of themselves into account (Jiang & Wang, 2020). Practically, suppose the government formulates and implements policies with careful consideration, in this case, the huge market can become more systematic, and the dishonesty, privacy, and security issues among the Internet can be regulated (Zhang et al., 2019). Furthermore, it is feasible for market-based regulation and self-regulation to mediate the market in a sustainable direction and promote the development of Internet technology. As a result, the lack of supervision systems in China’s sharing mobility industry is able to be remedied, and imaginably China will shape a complete system in operating the sharing mobility.

To conclude, from a theoretical point of view, China has generally formed a mature operation pattern for the sharing economy in the mobility industry, which will contribute to its sustainability. From a practical point of view, China’s vast market size shared with the advanced Internet technology powerfully drives the sustainability of China’s sharing economy in the mobility industry. Although the supervision system of China’s sharing mobility industry may not be well equipped to some extent, under the multi-party regulatory approach, China’s sharing economy in the mobility industry will develop in a more complete, more energetic, and more sustainable direction.


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