With the development of society, the economic model of the sharing economy has gradually become popular in all walks of life. It connects online platforms with individuals or organizations, allowing them to share resources, skills and services. The concept of the sharing economy first appeared in areas related to production, and more specifically to peer production. When the sharing economy emerged as a way of collaborative consumption around 2010, social network services gradually took over the Internet (John, 2016). In addition, the sharing economy is in a sense a manifestation of high capitalism by involving some kind of online platform that connects buyers and sellers. Sharing economy platforms share resources by squeezing the value of assets or items. This economic model has rapidly emerged in recent years and has had a profound impact on many industries and markets.
The sharing economy has had a profound impact on traditional industries. Its rise has changed the way people access and utilize resources, services, and skills, bringing about a series of positive and challenging changes. For traditional industries, taxis, as a traditional mode of travel, have been integrated into people’s daily lives. The development of the sharing economy will improve this traditional industry. It not only allocates and optimizes the use of resources and reduces waste through online platforms, thereby improving the efficiency of resources, but also provides additional income opportunities for many people. Individuals can earn money by sharing their assets or providing services (Scott, 2020). In other words, it allows individuals and groups to make money from underutilized assets. Unused assets such as parked cars and spare bedrooms can be rented out when not in use. In this way, invisible physical assets are shared as services, replacing the ownership of assets in the traditional sense. Among them, the most obvious example of the sharing economy in the service industry is Uber. Sharing economy companies are subverting traditional industries around the world. According to statistics, in the United States, the total revenue of all Uber drivers and delivery partners exceeded US$12.9 billion in 2017. The net economic added value of Uber drivers was US$5.7 billion per year, and 80% of drivers believe that the schedule flexibility provided by the Uber app allows them to earn money by working part-time through Uber during their free time (Uber, 2018). On the other hand, this reflects the economic benefits brought by Uber as a sharing economy platform. It has changed the traditional way of travel and provided more convenient, efficient and rich transportation options. In addition, the sharing economy provides users with a wider range of choices, effectively avoiding economic disputes caused by information gaps, users can choose different products and services according to their needs. When using Uber when going out, users can make reasonable use of idle resources through the Uber software, choose express cars according to their own preferences, carpool with others or rent a car. At the same time, they can estimate the amount after confirming the travel plan, thereby prevents the occurrence of arbitrary charges by traditional taxis. Finally, sharing economy platforms often build trust and interaction between communities, users and providers. Sharing economy platforms usually introduce evaluation and review systems. This operation not only allows users and providers to evaluate each other and leave feedback, but also helps other users understand the quality and reliability of the service, thereby building trust. At the same time, the platform can conduct corresponding background checks on users who provide products or resources to ensure that they have compliant qualifications and credibility. This can increase users’ trust in service quality and security, and contribute to the development of social connections and social communities.
While the sharing economy is growing and developing rapidly within traditional industries, it is also facing significant challenges such as regulatory uncertainty and concerns about abuse. First, the sharing economy may lead to unequal of opportunities. As the sharing economy is gradually realized through sharing platforms, different users have different learning abilities. Young people are always easier to adapt to the opportunities brought by the development of the sharing economy than older middle-aged or elderly people. This also makes it easier for young people to participate and benefit, but it is more difficult for middle-aged and elderly people. This will not only exacerbate the economic gap in society, but also cause more middle-aged people to face the risk of unemployment. In addition, the legal and regulatory issues arising from the sharing economy cannot be ignored. People have become more confused about the business models caused by the new economic model. Regulators may not be able to combine it with the complete regulatory systems in other existing business models in a timely manner, leading to unfair supervision, especially in when comparing traditional and sharing economy businesses (Cannon, 2014). When the lack of government supervision will lead to serious abuses by buyers and sellers in the sharing economy, when users providing rental services do not provide appropriate licenses in the sharing platform and do not comply with regulations or pay relevant fees, this could mean they exploit regulatory loopholes to make money, allowing them to charge lower prices and reap more benefits (Scott, 2020). At the same time, the sharing economy sometimes provides private access at the expense of privacy. Using a sharing economy platform may involve the sharing of personal information, the more information shared on an online platform, the more likely it is that racial or gender bias will occur among users, according to statistics, sharing platforms are more prone to information security issues than traditional industries (Scott, 2020). For example, when renting a car, the person renting the car is more willing to rent the car to a man with better driving skills than a woman, or to a white man than a black man. Personal information collected in online platforms not only causes privacy leaks, but also creates many security issues such as telecommunications fraud. Finally, sharing economic platforms may lead to unfair market competition, and monopoly will make it difficult for users to start their own businesses. The sharing economy is not true sharing, because true sharing occurs within families and intimate groups (John, 2016). In terms of travel, most people take taxis through Uber, which means that Uber has gradually become a leading company in travel. When a monopoly company begins to choose to expand to other cities, it looks more like a colonizer, rather than a company competing against other companies (Pasquale, 2015).
Overall, the sharing economy has had a wide-ranging impact on traditional industries, with both positive aspects and many challenges. It uses resources more efficiently, changes traditional consumption patterns, creates more jobs, and brings new opportunities and changes to the global economy by connecting online platforms, but it also needs to deal with a series of regulatory and legal issues. Therefore, the development of the sharing economy requires comprehensive consideration of its pros and cons and the timely formulation of corresponding policies and regulatory measures.