Editor’s Note: This translation is provided for reference only. While useful for academic analyses, the English version of the document presented below is not legally valid before Chinese courts, and administrative agencies. Readers interested in the official version of the Guiding Opinion on Promoting the Development of the Sharing Economy are encouraged to consult the National Development and Reform Commission website, where the original version of this regulatory document can be found.
In March 2017, The Foundation for Law and International Affairs and The Coalition for Peace and Ethics submitted a comment on the draft version of the Opinion. The comment submitted to the National Development and Reform Commission can be found here, while the draft version of the Opinion can be accessed here.
This translation is offered ‘as it is’. Science, and legal studies too, are a collective enterprise. Readers’ constructive comments and suggestions on how this translation can be improved are welcome. All rights on this work belong to the Foundation for Law and International Affairs and to The Coalition for Peace and Ethics. You are welcome to modify this translation, and use it on any electronic or paper medium of information, on condition you include a link to the present post.
Guiding Opinion on Promoting the Development of the Sharing Economy
The sharing economy is a new industrial format and a new industrial model produced by a new global revolution in science and technology and by industrial transformation, which is accelerating a renewal of property rights, organizational forms, employment models, and consumption patterns. Speeding up the development of the sharing economy can effectively improve the efficiency of resource allocation, it can make the lives of the People’s Masses more convenient, and it has a major significance in structural reforms to boost the supply side, implementing and innovation-driven development strategy, further promoting mass entrepreneurship, mass innovation, fostering a new momentum in economic development. In recent years, innovation and entrepreneurship in the sharing economy have been lively, they have developed rapidly in China using the Internet Plus, producing several new industries, and absorbing excesses in productive capacity, bringing about employment, showing great vitality and potential. They already have become the largest area to promote mass entrepreneurship and mass innovation. To a deeper extent, they are a major mean of development, and a ‘victorious army’ of China’s economic and social development. But at the same time the development of the sharing economy is confronting problems and challenges, such as a lack of unified awareness, unsuitability of systems, imperfect guarantees. The present Guiding Opinion is enacted in accordance to the overall demands of deepening the streamlining of administration and the decentralization of power, combined with the decentralization of managament, and the improvement of service reform to enhance preventive guidance, optimize the development environment, promote the development of the sharing economy.
1. In the current stage, sharing economy mainly refers to the optimized allocation of dispersed resources through the use of network information technology and the Internet, and to a new form of economy that improves use efficiency.
2. The sharing economy emphasizes the separation between property rights and use rights, advocates for the advanced concepts of shared use, an intensive use of resources, and lively innovation. It emphasizes elasticity in matching the supply and demand sides, it realizes a timely, precise and highly effective encounter between supply and demand. It stresses the deep integration of consumption and production, it forms a developmental model in which all participate and from which all benefit.
3. In order to promote a better and faster development of the sharing economy, the main line of promoting a structural reform of the supply side must be upheld. Deepen the streamlining of administration and the decentralizaton of power, combined with the decentralization of management, improve service reform, combine development and supervision according to the principle of ‘encouraging innovation, and containing cautiousness’, actively explore advancing, strengthen guidance according to categories, innovate supervision models, promote collaborative governance, complete laws and regulations, protect fair competition, strengthen the guarantees to development, fully bring into play the enthusiasm and initiative of provinces and departments, to support and guide all market subjects in the enthusiastic exploration of new formats and models of sharing economy.
4. Reasonably define the properties of the format of the sharing economy in different industries, finely manage [them] according to their category. Strengthen the launch of access policies by departments and localities, develop a coordinated and cohesive guidance to the industry, and avoid adopting old methods to govern new formats, overcome industry barrierss and regional limitations. Eliminate the administrative permits, business registrations and similar items limiting the development of the sharing economy, further remove or relax those conditions limiting market entry of resource provider, cautiously enact new policies for market entry. Draft and enact all measures for market entry and supervision, soliciting the public’s opinion before their adoption, fully conduct consultations and evaluations, to enhance policy transparency. Uphold the baseline thought, increase the awareness of safety, and severely regulate entry conditions for those models and formats bearing a close relation to the safety of the People’s lives and property, social stability, cultural safety, financial risk.
5. Uphold the principle of a supervision containing cautiousness, and explore the creation of a shared multilateral governance mechanism of the sharing economy with the communal participation of government, platform enterprises, industry associations, resource providers, and consumers. Strengthen local governments’ ability to make their own decisions, and innovation, perform well the connection with existing social governance systems and management systems, perfect industry guidance on the development of the sharing economy, and ex durante, ex post supervision. Fully use cloud computing technologies, the Internet of things, and big data technology to innovate the means of network professional supervision. the Government departments must tolerate innovation, perfect industry guidance on the sharing economy, making full use of technologies such as cloud computing, Internet of things, big data, to innovate the means of network businesses supervision. Strengthen the construction of a platform to supervise network transactions, implement integrated online and offline management. Platform enterprises must strengthen internal governance and safety guarantees, strengthen their sense of social responsibility, and strictly regulate their business operations. Industry associations and other relevant social organizations must promote the adoption of industry regulation and voluntary commitments, and improve supervision by society. Resource providers and consumers must strengthen ethical restrictions, to realize shared advantages and shared governance, and promove the development of the sharing economy in a civilized way.
6. Scientifically and reasonably define the rights, responsibilities, and duties of platform enterprises, resource providers, and consumers according to the diverse formats and features of the sharing economy. Determine the tresholds for prosecution and the scope of fulfilment of their responsibilities, research the establishment of joint coordination mechanisms whereby platform enterprises fulfil their responsibily and lawfully enjoy exemption from responsibility, and promote a regulated development of the industry. Platform enterprise must establish relevant regulation, strictly inspect the qualification of internet subjects, and protect consumers’ lawful rights and interests, enthusiastically coadiuvating the government in supervising law enforcement and the protection of rights of rights holders. Resource providers must fulfil the duty of information disclosulre, enthusiastically cooperating with relevant inspections. Consumers must use shared resources lawfully and in accordance with regulation.
7. Guide platform enterprises in establishing and completing consumer complaints and dispute resolution mechanisms, encourage industry organizations to explore the construction of third-party platforms for consumers complaints and rights protection, in accordance with the laws and with regulations. Lawfully and severely strike at conducts that leak or misuse user personal information and other conducts that damage the rights and interests of consumers. Strengthen the protection of patents, copyrights, trademarkes and the intellectual property rights of platform enterprises, as well as their innovation, use and service. Encourage the combination of needs of financial institutions and platform enterprises, innovate financial products and services. Analyze and enact insurance policies consistent with the features of platform enterprises, enthusiastically use insurance and other market mechanisms to guarantee the lawful rights and interests of service providers and consumers.
8. Encourage and guide platform enterprises in developing an effective and orderly competition. Earnestrly strengthen supervision and prevention over monopolistic conducts in the sharing economy by platform enterprises. Protect the rights and interests of consumers, and the public, build an environment for the fair competition between old and new formats, and among all market subjects. Prohibit the use of unlawful means in competition, and severely strike at conducts disrupting the regular order of production and business.
9. Enthusiastically give play to the National Credit Information Sharing Platform, the National Enterprise Credit Publicity System and the financial credit information database, to lawfully promote the seamless integration of every kind of credit information platform, avoid isolated information, construct a cooperation mechanism to share information between government and enterprise, fully utilize internet credit data, to complement the existing credit reporting system, and provide services to credit reporting institutions. Enthusiastically guide platform enterprises in the use of big data predictions, users’ mutual evaluation, third-party approval, third-party credit evaluation and other means and mechanisms, establish robust credit records for relevant subjects, strengthen identity verification, credit evaluation and credit management of resources providers, raise the capability to govern sources. Lawfully strengthen credit record, risk warning, online disclosure of information on violations of the law and trust-breaking, vigorously promote joint incentives for maintaining trust and joint punishments for trust-breaking. Platform enterprises must construct credit information preservation systems, fulfil their duty of cooperating with controls, and cooperate with relevant department in the enforcement of joint punishment for trust-breaking.
10. Encourage and support the orderly ‘going out’ of platform enterprises of superior competitiveness, strengthen communication and exchanges with the outside, enthusiastically open up international markets, construct a transnational enterprise system, create internationally reknown products and brands, nurture sharing economy platform enterprises having global influence.
11. Vigorously promote the sharing of government department data, the openness of public data resources, the sharing of public service resources, augment the provision of public services, raise the effectiveness of service, lower the cost of service. Improve relevant policies, improve government departments’ capability to purchase sharing information product and services, broaden the needs of public services. In the deployment of land use in urban and rural areas, and in the construction and planning of public infrastructure, fully consider the developmental needs of the sharing economy. Encourage enterprises, high schools, research institutions to share human talents and knowledge, instruments and faciliets, experience, research results and other innovation resources and productive capability.
12. Fully bring into play the sharing economy’s [pontential to] promote employment, analyze and improve lively policies of social insurance contribution for employed personnel, coherent with the featurs of the sharing economy. Earnestly strengthen the protection of labourers’ rights and interests. Broaden the strength of propaganda, increase laborer’s awareness of their [need to] protect themselves. Implement relevant policies of support to entrepreneurship in accordance with regulation towards platform enterprises signing labour contracts with employees, flexible workers relying on platform enterprises, and freelancers.
13. Research how to perfect tax collection measures suited to the features of the sharing economy. Lawfully strengthen the work of collecting tax information about platform enterprises, and analyzing the tax-collection risks. Accelerate the integration of online and offline management. Promote the use of electronic invoices, continuously improve the informatization level of tax service, sustain and increase the fiscal service capability of the sharing economy.
14. Establish a sound system of statistical data and evaluation indicators on the sharing economy. Fully use big data and other information technologies to innovate methods of statistical survey, promote sharing statistical data among government departments, collect relevant data through multiple channels, perfect the assessment of statistical data, and scientifically evaluate the contribution of the sharing economy to economic development, the improvement of the lives of the people, promoting employment, increasing residents’ income, expanding domestic consumption, as well as other contributions.
15. Strengthen the work of legal interpretation and amendments to legislation, in order to provide for the timely adjustment of laws, regulations, and politices unsuitable for the development and management of the sharing economy, and continuously improve legal services. In relevant legislative work, conduct planning in accordance with relevant natioanl strategic deployment, and the developmental features of the sharing economy, and strengthen the suitability of systems and supervision. Research and enact management measures for distict sectors and fields of the sharing economy, according to the needs, and in a timely fashion.
16. All provinces and departments must take responsibility, be proactive, earnestly strengthen a deep research on the sharing economy, use methods in line with local circumstances, constantly improve the development environment, and innovate a good social anticipation, pragmatically promoting a healthy and rapid development of the sharing economy. Encourage industries and provinces where the conditions are adequate to conduct trials, to fully use a professional space for mass innovation, the supporting role of technological incubators, and the model role of model bases for dual practice and dual innovation. Uninterruptedly raise service capability, enthusiastically conduct relevant explorations and practices. The “Internet +” Inter-Ministerial Joint Conference system must strengthen comprehensive coordination and policy explanation on the development of the sharing economy, and when the conditions will be ripe it must establish an expert advisors’ committee on the sharing economy, to provide important policy supporto to gvernment policies.