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Interdisciplinary Centre for Law, Internet and Culture (iCLIC)

iCLIC Conference - The Sharing Economy in China: Regulation or De-regulation for Innovation? Event

Dr Stalla-Bourdillon & Prof Hou
27 March 2018
Shanghai Jiao Tong University

Event details

Call for Papers - The Sharing Economy in China: Regulation or De-regulation for Innovation?

KoGuan Law Building
KoGuan Law Building

The Internet worldwide is entering a new phase of development, which is often broadly referred to as the sharing economy. Other terms that have also been used to refer to this emerging era include: the access economy, collaborative economy, collaborative consumption and, perhaps more strikingly, uberification. This call for papers takes a broad approach to the topic, and welcomes submissions regarding all regulatory issues relating to Internet platforms that make use of the idle capacity of assets, including human labour, for monetary or non-monetary gain.

The sharing economy is changing our living patterns from almost every conceivable perspective, from items purchased on online shopping websites to bicycles rented through bicycle-sharing systems, or taxi bookings processed by carpooling applications. It is also thought to be vital to the development of the global economy, as evidenced by a recent prediction of PricewaterhouseCoopers, which envisages that the worldwide sharing economy will have grown from $14 billion in 2014 to $335 billion by 2025.

Though our daily lives have become increasingly convenient due to the rollout of increasingly sophisticated online services, such as the examples mentioned above, the rise of the sharing economy has spawned a range of previously unencountered regulatory issues. In this regard, sharing economy services can be divided into two types: services that are entirely novel and have no offline counterparts, and services that have pre-existing offline counterparts and can be said to compete with traditional economy services.

Examples of the first type of service include, by way of example, Wikipedia, Google Books, online advertising blocking apps, and bicycle sharing systems. It would be difficult, if not impossible, for these services to exist exclusively offline outside the confines of cyberspace. As a result, these are services that have no direct offline competition. However, whilst these services might not provide direct competition to the providers of offline services, their use is capable of giving rise to other legal and regulatory issues. For instance, the operation of Google Books may raise issues relating to intellectual property rights, and online bicycle sharing systems may engage rules that govern the use of public spaces.

The second type of service is more common, and often take the form of online shopping, car sharing, social lending, P2P accommodation, and crowdfunding services. This type of sharing economy service increases social welfare by leveraging the connectivity of the Internet to enable the use of physical assets that would otherwise be difficult to utilise in the absence of any online enablement. One debate that is becoming increasingly prominent in the context of the use of such services is whether, and how, their operation should be regulated, or possibly deregulated, in correlation with their offline counterparts. One particularly salient underlying question in need of an answer is whether it is possible to establish a level regulatory playing field for services operating in both sharing and traditional economies.
At a more general level the use of sharing economy services also poses an array of new challenges in respect of consumer protection, online dispute resolution mechanisms, privacy and data protection, and financial security. Ultimately, we are now being confronted with one overarching question as to how regulatory endeavours pertaining to the sharing economy should be shaped so to engender innovation and fair competition.

Due to the gigantic size of its economy and population China is at the forefront of the sharing economy. Data released by the National Information Center of China shows that the total value of the sharing economy in China was about $53 billion in 2016, almost 5% of China’s GDP of that year. Several ad hoc regulations have been adopted for sharing economy services in China, notably in respect of online shopping and vehicle sharing platforms, and it is hoped that China’s regulatory experiences may be of value in terms of guidance for the rest of the world.

To celebrate its 200th issue, the Computer Law & Security Review (CLSR) is sponsoring a high-profile conference co-organized by the Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China and the University of Southampton, UK on the sharing economy in China. Authors are encouraged to submit papers exploring issues relating to the sharing economy in China from a diverse range of legal and regulatory perspectives. Selected papers will be considered for publication in a dedicated issue of the journal after the conference. 

The Computer Law and Security Review
Event Sponsor: The Computer Law and Security Review

Submission Process and Important Dates

Authors should submit their manuscripts online to both Professors Liyang Hou (Shanghai Jiao Tong University) at Liyang Hou and Sophie Stalla-Bourdillon (University of Southampton) at To ensure that all manuscripts are correctly identified for consideration for the conference and the special issue, authors shall insert “Sharing Economy in China: Regulation or De-regulation for Innovation?” in the subject line of their emails. Manuscripts should be prepared in accordance with Computer Law & Security Review’s Guide for Authors available at:

Contributions must be submitted no later than 15 January 2018. Approximately 20  authors will be invited to speak at the conference. The decision for selection will be made by 20 February 2018. The conference will be held on 27 March 2018 in Shanghai. Though the organizers will cover the costs of accommodation, as well as meals, conference speakers will have to bear the costs of their transportation to and from Shanghai. Only contributions presented at the conference will be considered for further review and inclusion in CLSR at the end of 2018.

Questions about the conference and publication in CLSR may be directed to:

Liyang Hou, Professor, Shanghai Jiao Tong University,  or Sophie Stalla-Bourdillon at

Event Organisers

Liyang Hou is currently Professor of Competition Law, Assistant Dean of International Programs, Director of European Law Center, and Deputy Director of the Center for Competition Law and Polic, at KoGuan Law School, Shanghai Jiao Tong University (Shanghai).  In 2007-2011 he worked as an assistant researcher at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Law and ICT (ICRI) of Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium). He started his professorship at KoGuan in 2011. He is Editor in Chief of Chinese Antitrust Cases Database (with Kluwer), a member of Editorial Board of Computer Law & Security Review, Co-editor in Chief of Asian Competition Law Review, and Executive Editor in Chief of Competition Law and Policy Review (in Chinese). Liyang is also a fellow in Academic Society for Competition Law, Pacific Telecommunications Council, Asian Competition Forum, Shanghai Competition Law Association, and China Economic Law Association. He has published about 10 books and more than 40 academic articles in internationally renowned journals. His representative work includes Competition Law and Regulation in the EU Electronic Communications Sector (Kluwer, 2012), "Reshaping Market, Competition and Regulation in EU Utility Liberalization" (CMLR, 2015), and "Can Open Internet Access be Imposed upon European CATV Networks?" (TelePo, 2013). His research covers a variety of domains, including competition law, telecom regulation, innovation, economic analysis of law and comparative law. 

Dr Sophie Stalla-Bourdillon, Associate Professor in Information Technology and Intellectual Property Law, Director of ILAWS

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