Business / Companies

App Zaihang offers expert knowledge

By Meng Jing (China Daily) Updated: 2016-03-29 08:23

App Zaihang offers expert knowledge

Zheng Wei, a registered expert on Zaihang, shares with a girl his expertise in art design. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Zaihang blazes a trail in China's peer-to-peer economy

Nowadays, many things can be traded and hired online. When traveling around, you can book a stay in others' private apartments or take a ride in other's vehicles.

Increasingly in the era of the so-called sharing economy, a peer-to-peer based sharing model, which allows people to lend their idled assets to another person and make a profit, it is possible to make what is mine become yours, even in terms of knowledge, skills and experience.

Zaihang, literally "be good at", is one such online platform that allows users to "collaboratively consume" their intellectual assets.

"The core of the sharing economy is for participants to commercialize their idle assets. I think knowledge is an important part of the sharing economy because many people have a surplus of knowledge in a certain area, which can be very valuable to others," said Ji Xiaohua, founder of Beijing-based Zaihang.

At an average cost at 400 yuan ($62) per hour, those who are not confident in their fashion taste can easily find those with fashionable eyes on Zaihang to go shopping with and help rebuild their wardrobe. Those who want to become a great host on Airbnb Inc can get advice from those who have abundant experience in travelling and staying at hotels.

Even those who want to improve their skills at playing poker can find a poker master on Zaihang to pick his or her brain.

These people, who are great hands at something, are called Hangjia or expert by Zaihang. They can be the founder of a tech firm, chief executive officers of venture capital firms, musicians or therapists. Since it was launched in March 2015, Zaihang has attracted more than 8,000 experts in nine cities to register on its platform and "sell" their expertise in certain areas offline, mostly in a cafe or other third-party venues.

Ji, who is known by the Chinese tech education world for setting up in 2010, a popular app in China for people to learn about science and technology, said he first had the idea in 2012 to launch such a knowledge- and skills-sharing service after a visit to Tsinghua University.

"I realized that college students don't need the kind of knowledge in textbooks. They need people with social experience to offer them advice on how to pick the right job or show what it is like to be a doctor.

"There was huge demand for one-on-one consultation to offer tailor-made advice on each individual case. Advice from an experienced person can really offer insight and give them a shortcut," said Ji, who was named as a "young global leader" in 2016 by the World Economic Forum for his contribution to the popularization of science and sharing knowledge.

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