Sharing economy helps balance jobless rate

More Malaysians are now leveraging the P2P-based business model via various platforms spurred by the MCO


THE sharing economy, a business model that involves a peer-to-peer (P2P)-based activity of acquiring, providing or sharing access to goods and services, is one of the best alternatives to earn an income among those that have been retrenched as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Trevo Malaysia GM Susan Teoh (picture) said while the gig economy helps balance the unemployment numbers, the sharing economy allows more people to make that extra on top of what they are already earning.

Teoh said more Malaysians are now leveraging the sharing economy via various platforms, including food and grocery delivery apps, spurred by the restrictions that are part of the Movement Control Order (MCO).

As it is, the pandemic has created an opportunity for food delivery apps and cloud kitchens to grow, and the demand for such services is on the rise.

“For instance, a lot of people want to start their own business now, but without credit scoring, getting a loan or financial support from the traditional banking system is rather difficult. This is where the P2P lending fits in,” Teoh said.

Other successful examples include Airbnb Inc, a vacation rental online marketplace company that offers arrangements for lodging, primarily homestays or tourism experience.

“The pandemic has created a tight time for everyone, it has, at the same time, made us think of another way to generate income to survive,” Teoh said.

Both the gig and sharing economies have also helped full-time workers, who are still employed, gain side income.

“One research paper reveals that 38% of respondents, who are still fully employed, are constantly looking into opportunities in the gig economy, so that they could create a passive income.

“Besides their core job, they’re still looking into ways to improve their lives through the sharing and gig economies,” Teoh explained.

As for Trevo, the company creates an opportunity for those who possess extra cars which might be parked unproductively to make extra money by “sharing” them with other consumers.

According to the Asean Statistics Division, Malaysia has the second-highest number of registered road motor vehicles per 1,000 population in 2017, which is 896.7, behind Brunei (970.8) and just above Thailand (547.8).

“The working class actually owns at least one car and more than 50% of our households own more than one car,” said Teoh.

She said most Malaysians could also afford models that are produced by national carmakers Proton Holdings Bhd and Perusahaan Otomobil Kedua Sdn Bhd (Perodua), while enjoying low prices of fuel compared to many other countries.

“Prior to the MCO, we were talking about a monthly number of 40,000 to 50,000 cars being sold to Malaysians. We are a nation of only 32 million population.

“As for the car sales volumes per month, we’re talking about 40,000 to 50,000 units here,” she said.

As such, she said it would be wise for the extra cars to be utilised and shared on the platform that would spell extra income for owners.

Teoh said Trevo, operated by Future Mobility Solutions Sdn Bhd, which is a fully-owned subsidiary of SoCar Mobility Malaysia Sdn Bhd, is well-positioned to offer car owners the opportunity to earn more.

She said owners of cars that are not more than 12 years old, with all the necessary legal documents, including the car grant, valid road tax and a valid insurance, are eligible to join the platform.

“We make it very easy for car hosts at any corners in the Klang Valley, Penang and Kota Kinabalu. That’s where we have our footprints. It is very easy to attain cars via Trevo, thanks to technology,” she said, adding that hosts can make their cars available at anytime, anywhere.

Registration to be a Trevo host is done digitally via its platform.

“But of course, it has to be aligned to our pricing algorithm, mainly based on your sum insured,” said Teoh.

She added that since payments are done through online transactions, hosts do not need to worry about guests being unable to pay.