China Paradigm interviewed Hammer Guan, the founder of Youbangxin, a Chinese application for freelancers reshaping China’s sharing economy. During the interview, Hammer Guan helps us understand the challenges but also the numerous opportunities of freelancing in China. Also, Guan shares his expertise on China’s sharing economy and comments on the future of freelancing in China.
Hammer Guan, a Chinese entrepreneur empowering gig workers in China
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the renowned Tsinghua University, Hammer Guan started his career in the IT and software industry. With his 15 years of work experience as a sales manager, the now-entrepreneur chose to start a master’s degree in Business and Administration at China Europe International School (CEIBS). After successfully achieving his studies in 2016, Hammer Guan founded an application targeting gig workers in China in which he combines both his academic knowledge and long experience in the Chinese IT industry.
Youbangxin, a Chinese C2C platform for freelancing in China
Youbangxin, a Chinese C2C platform, was founded in 2016 in Beijing by Hammer Guan. The platform aims at connecting freelancers to individuals looking for services in diverse sectors. As stated by Guan, the particularity of his platform lies in its features that allow users to exploit the application as a “one-stop” solution. Accordingly, customers and freelancers, through the platform, can share videos, exchange messages or have video calls that are unique in China’s sharing economy. As it is usual in the industry, the platform charges a 10% service fee on each transaction that has been made possible by the application. Youbangxin wishes to remain transparent with the users and will continue developing in the coming years.
« We are not only an application for freelancers in China but also a powerful tool to empower the freelancers to demonstrate, share and broadcast their own skills on different platforms or WeChat groups. There is no barrier between Youbang and the third-party platform »
Build a network effect for a Chinese C2C platform
Hammer Guan explains how he started to bring professionals on his Chinese C2C platform to create a network effect. He tells that an application that wants to be successful should offer the best tools to enhance users’ experience. In the case of his platform for gig workers in China, the entrepreneur explains that he needed to empower users to build branding and provide them the ability to showcase their skills.
The first marketing campaign is also primordial to build a first customer and freelancer base. Nevertheless, what is most important is the creative and innovative aspect of the platform. Hammer Guan strongly incentivizes entrepreneurs to offer a unique product that is able to disrupt the market and stand apart from competitors.
Changing customer habits with a Chinese C2C platform
During the interview, Hammer Guan discusses the difficulties faced by online platforms during their launch phase. According to the Guan, gaining credibility and ensuring safety around the application is key for China’s sharing economy. The entrepreneur explains that these two criteria are primordial so that customer habits can be replaced by more digital solutions.
However, Hammer Guan acknowledges that China’s sharing economy profit from the maturity of the local digital market. Chinese people are familiar with online payment and various online platforms which renders the task of getting the attention and trust of new customers on the Chinese C2C platform easier.
“I think for a C2C model in China, the business model limitation is only how to build trust with customers to gain credibility on our service. We need to make the customers feel safe while they are doing a transaction online”
The sharing economy as a growth factor for China
When Hammer Guan is asked why he opted for a business in the sharing economy, the businessman insists on the importance of this model for the future of China. According to him, China’s sharing economy is more efficient and effective compared to traditional models of corporations. Indeed, transaction costs are reduced, the price is set freely, and experts are employed only to the extent needed.
The entrepreneur thus explains that China will benefit long-term from this business model. The government already encourages projects in the sector and Hammer Guan is confident that his Chinese C2C platform will catch the attention of the local authorities in the future.
“So far, the sharing economy is growing at a very fast pace. The government encourages business innovation and has encouraged more people to launch their business in the past four years, but they cannot help every company.”
Related reading: SaaS business in China
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