Sharing economy may benefit from lower operating costs, optimal use of resources
China plans to impose appropriate taxes to regulate the sharing economy sector, the country's top economic planner said in a draft proposal on Tuesday.
The draft guideline, published by the National Development and Reform Commission on its official website, called for accelerated research on new tax regulations for the rapidly growing sharing economy sector.
"More effort is needed to encourage enterprises that deal in the sharing economy to dock with local tax authorities, and speed up the integration of online and offline (tax) management policies," the draft said.
According to the document, which is open for public scrutiny, local governments will also buy more sharing economy products and services, such as ride-sharing, to reduce operating costs and maximize the use of resources.
The guideline is part of China's broad efforts to boost and regulate the country's sharing economy sector, which has seen an explosive growth in recent years.
In 2016, the transaction volume of China's sharing economy reached 3.45 trillion yuan ($503 billion), marking a 103 percent year-on-year growth, a report said on Tuesday.
The report, released by the Sharing Economy Research Center of the State Information Center, shows China's sharing economy has played a significant role in generating innovation-driven economic growth, and creating new employment opportunities
In 2016, 600 million people were involved in China's sharing economy, up by 100 million from the same period in 2015. Employees working on the sharing economy platforms numbered 5.85 million, surging by 850,000 year-on-year. Among them, the number of service providers increased by 10 million to 60 million.
Yu Fengxia, director of the Information Institute of the State Information Center, said: "China has been swept by the idea of a sharing economy. A growing number of people realize the new business model and are willing to be part of it."
Also, thanks to strong policy support, the enterprises that thrive on the sharing economy model are maturing, and investors are upbeat about the sector, making it one of the most popular destinations for investments, she added.
The report predicts that in the next few years, the annual growth rate for China's sharing economy will remain at roughly 40 percent, accounting for more than 10 percent of the nation's GDP by 2020.
Chen Chi, CEO of the home-rental site Xiaozhu.com, said that the era of apartment-sharing had come.
He said: "The government has carried out favorable policies, and the market is evolving rapidly. We will grasp this opportunity, create more user-friendly experiences, and provide better services for consumers."
Founded in 2012, Beijing-based Xiaozhu.com is similar to the US-based Airbnb: It enables users to book spare rooms or apartments of others through a peer-to-peer model.
Zheng Yiran contributed to the story.