The market value of China’s sharing economy reached nearly 5 trillion yuan ($767 billion) last year, a rise of 47.2 percent from 2016, according to a report published by the State Information Center, a think tank, in February.
The report showed that the market for nonfinancial services, such as shared bikes and food deliveries, was more than 2 trillion yuan, a year-on-year rise of 66.8 percent.
More than 700 million people nationwide used services provided by the sharing economy last year, about 100 million people more than in 2016.
Meanwhile, 70 million people offered services in the six sectors that constitute the sharing economy, about 10 million more than in 2016.
In addition, 21.15 million people offered services in the transportation sector, such as shared bikes and online ride-hailing.
About 35 million worked in the knowledge and skills sector, including online livestreaming knowledge-sharing activities, while 22 million people provided lifestyle services, such as food deliveries.
Other sectors include housing and accommodations, and online finance. Some workers offered services in more than one sector simultaneously.
The scale of financing in the sharing economy reached 216 billion yuan, a rise of 25.7 percent from 2016, with transportation, lifestyle services and knowledge and skills as the three top sectors.
Employment was at the highest level for the past five years, which was partly a result of the development of the sharing economy.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the registered unemployment rate was 3.9 percent at the end of last year, the lowest level since 2002.
Online platforms within the sharing economy employed 7.16 million people, a rise of more than 1.3 million from 2016.
New employees accounted for 9.7 percent of new jobs created during the year, compared with 6.5 percent in 2016.
That meant 10 in every 100 new employees in all fields were hired by companies operating in the sharing economy.
The sharing economy also contributed to employment in poverty-stricken areas and the re-employment of workers in industries plagued by overcapacity, including coal, steel and concrete.
For example, Didi Chuxing, a leading ride-hailing company, employed 3.93 million people who previously worked in industries noted for overcapacity. It also provided jobs for 1.78 million former members of the People’s Liberation Army.
In addition, the company gave jobs to 1.33 million previously unemployed people.
Of the 500,000 delivery riders employed by Meituan Waimai, one of China’s largest online food delivery platforms, about 156,000, or more than 31 percent, had previously worked in the coal and steel industries, according to the report.
Meanwhile, 46,000 of the 500,000 riders－9.2 percent－came from counties classified as impoverished.