Sharing about a 'sharing economy'

Kash Cheong The Straits Times AsiaOne 14 Jun 14;

Want to make money from stuff collecting dust in your storeroom and go green at the same time?

Six home-grown companies have banded together to encourage people to rent and share items rather than buying them.

The so-called "sharing economy" idea involves people giving away, lending or renting items or offering services to maximise the use of resources and reduce waste, and is expected to surpass US$3.5 billion (S$4.3 billion) in consumer revenue globally last year.

In Singapore, for instance, users can rent out ladders and drills to others for a small fee using a website called Rent Tycoons.

Another website, PandaBed, allows users to rent out rooms to tourists looking for a more authentic Singapore experience living with locals.

PandaBed and Rent Tycoons are two founding members of the Sharing Economy Association (Singapore). The others are Waste is not Waste, an online waste exchange for businesses, iCarsClub, a car rental firm, Leendy, an app that allows people to swop belongings, and BlockPooling, which enables sharing between neighbours.

Regulatory rules can be an issue though. The Housing Board, for example, recently repossessed two flats as owners had rented these rooms out to tourists for less than six months, which is not allowed.

The association said it will talk regularly with Government agencies to address challenges. It will also partner the Singapore University of Technology and Design to study the sharing economy here, and reach out to youth and businesses.