China’s largest classified ad platform, 58 Ganji, has incubated a project named Bangbang to help users share their skills.
Bangbang, literally meaning “help out” in Chinese, was launched in last September and became available on App Store in December. It covers over twenty categories including fortune-telling, customized freehand sketching, and other design-related services. The app has been installed on 30,000 devices and It now sees around 150 orders placed per month.
“The project was started with the vision that skill sharing would be the next big thing, given that the sharing economy in transportation and accommodation is already booming,” Lin Shan, the director of Bangbang, told AllChinaTech.
“More importantly, 58 Ganji has accumulated many experienced individual service providers over the past decade, and they may perform better on a platform where demands for customized and non-standardized services are met.”
Other than resources from 58 Ganji, Bangbang also attracts service providers via instant messaging software such as QQ and WeChat, where fans of various hobbies have gathered and connected.
The app has a system of human and automatic moderators to examine submitted services and ensure that they are publishable. Service content must be specific, and service providers must go through real-name authentication. For services such as pet fostering, Bangbang will send staff to check the fosterage place onsite.
The app is designed for services, and it is specific about what can be considered a service, and what can be considered a good: for example, sales of soaps are forbidden on the platform, but instructing people on how to hand make the soap is acceptable.
In the future, the app, now offering non-standardized services, plans to set some service standards to ensure good user experience. Third-party credit scoring systems such as Ant Financial’s Sesame Credit may also be applied to the platform, and so too will insurance be considered to deal with risks that may arise.
Despite offering various services, the app has not accumulated many user reviews over the past six months. Lin said that other than providing material encouragements like Bangbang credits and other bonuses for writing useful reviews, users will be able to read on their page: The reviews you left have helped [a number of] people. “That may serve as a satisfaction as well,” said Lin.
In terms of marketing, the app does not spend an arm and a leg, but rather relies on “word of mouth” to accumulate users aside from those coming from 58 Ganji.
When it comes to its business model, Lin said that though his app does not charge commission fees at the moment, it may do so in the future.
The app also plans to develop and introduce a product specifically for service providers. The new product will help service providers with agenda management, route-planning for door-to-door services, and order notifications.
In addition, the app wants to distinguish itself from competitors by incorporating a Q&A section with rewards offered for those who answer, but this is still in the planning stage.
Lin said that its users have been publishing tasks, or asking questions, such as “Where to find a tattoo artist in Beijing?” or “My tire developed a bulge, what should I do?” Lin believes that a platform is needed where questions on daily living can be answered.
“We envision a platform where people can get answers and solutions to their everyday problems and feel secured with each and every deal on this platform,” said Lin.
According to Analysys, 1.06 million people were involved with apps for part-time employment last December, a growth of 222% compared to last January.
Analysts say that the aging population in China may have contributed to this trend: the labour force is shrinking, and recruiting full time workers for jobs that can be finished by part-time workers is costly. Labour demand for certain industries are therefore more likely to be met by part-time service providers. This in turn has led to a boom in skill-sharing apps .
These trends have led to the emergence of other apps similar to Bangbang, each with their own characteristics. Zaihang is a platform where experienced tutors guide users and help them solve problems via chat. Zhubajie is a platform with a wide variety of systematically arranged services. Kongge is a platform with a focus on location-based services to help entrepreneurs grow. As for Bangbang, it is still developing its own set of unique features.
(Top photo from Nipic.com)