Date
24 September 2017
Convenience, ample choices and price discounts are some of the factors behind the proliferation of app-based vending and service platforms in China’s big cities. Photo: internet
Convenience, ample choices and price discounts are some of the factors behind the proliferation of app-based vending and service platforms in China’s big cities. Photo: internet

How apps are taking over China’s big cities

Life can be very inconvenient without apps for residents of China’s big cities like Beijing.

“From calling a cab to getting a haircut, if you want the best deal, you must purchase an online coupon,” a netizen writes on Facebook.

Home delivery services are proliferating. There’s a dizzying array of restaurants that offer food delivery. It’s also possible to get someone to come to your home to do manicure, tidy up your rooms, pick up your laundry and even give you a massage.

Taxi-hailing apps are so common, but there are also bus apps that pool together people traveling along the same route to create tailor-made lines.

Many applaud these apps for creating jobs which otherwise would have been non-existent.

One popular type of app lets people order food from neighbors, which is an excellent alternative for those who don’t want to cook but craves the taste of home cooking.

At the same time, retired seniors or households can earn extra cash while leading a more productive life.

The home service model also allows entrepreneurs to start a business without having to worry about expensive shop rents.

That said, a lot of these e-commerce platforms are burning cash and heavily subsidizing their offerings to compete for market share, according to reports.

With the venture capital market now cooling off, easy money may no longer be accessible.

When prices return to a normal level, it would be interesting to see if the rapid growth of apps will still sustain.

Part of the demand, in fact, is said to come from fake deals as vendors create ghost transactions to secure subsidy from platform organizers.

There is also the quality issue. Take food delivery services for example. Some customers complain what they get is quite different from what they see on the takeout food sites.

Delivery hiccups may also mean the lunch you ordered is already cold and unappetizing by the time it arrives at your doorstep.

– Contact us at [email protected]

CG

EJ Insight writer

EJI Weekly Newsletter

Please click here to unsubscribe