Harnessing the rapid development of mobile internet technology, the sharing economy has experienced unprecedented growth in the global economy, especially in China. Likely due to its increasing popularity, more and more businesses have adopted this label in China. There is a concern as to the essential meaning of the sharing economy. As it is difficult to have a universally accepted definition, we aim to map the sharing economy and demystify the use of it in China in this paper. We propose seven organizing essential elements of the sharing economy: access use rights instead of ownership, idle capacity, short term, peer-to-peer, Internet platforms mediated, for monetary profit, and shared value orientation. By satisfying all or only parts of these elements, we propose one typology of sharing economy, and to differentiate bona fide sharing economy from quasi- and pseudo-sharing economy. Finally, there are still many problems that need to be solved urgently in the real sharing economy from the perspective of the government, companies and individuals.
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