“When there is no attachment, there is freedom.” This mantra tells us that true freedom and happiness will come naturally if we don’t place all our hopes in external development and material possession. This defines us as human beings instead of material beings.

The development of “sharing economy” backboned by the leapfrogging adaption of new technology significantly influenced our daily life, which made this mantra sound more and more realistic. My personal experience in Beijing proofed me right.

November 3rd, 2016 was just another busy day. Three client meetings and one friend-get-together were scheduled. The places were scattered all over the city, going from the South Sixth-Ring Road to North Fifth-Ring Road, and from 798 Art Zone to Dong Si Shi Tiao District. Imagining myself with my poor driving skills, and the ‘infamous’ Beijing traffic jam, how frustrating can that be! Being the genius of the day, our office manager had ordered a car from Didi Zhuanche(滴滴专车)THE car hailing App in China, so that I could make phone calls and reply emails on the way from one place to another.

The meeting topics on that day were inspiring: one was about providing new ways of sharing cars and managing fleets for big corporations, another one was about sharing financial data for a more transparent credit check so people can get faster and more reliable chances to receive loan support; and the last one was simply about the upgrade of a car-pool experience.

It was a quick bite at a place recommended by the most popular restaurant-review and group-buying service App Dianping (点评). When I finally finished all the meetings, I met my friends at a HuTong place for a relaxing dinner. To treat our friend from overseas – Karl Krainer, the Chief Thinker of GEDANKENFABRIK – we had purposely rented a private place through Xiaozhu.com (小猪短租) , a local competitor of Airbnb. The handsome chef we picked from a private cooking platform “Good Chef” (好厨师)was already cooking with ingredients he brought along. You see, without any hassle, busy friends were still able to get together happy and simple for a chat and toast!

During dinner, we got in contact with another group of people from Xiangtan, Hunan Province, staying upstairs. They had also rented the place through Xiaozhu.com.  Fascinated by the interaction between us and the chef, and amused by my “Laowai” friends’ curious faces, they started to chat with us, and encouraged us to play “Mahjong” with them. Ten rounds of games were quickly played and random people were having a great time together. They of course took photos with us, and shared the memorable evening with the proud winners of that evening with their friends back home through WeChat, the super App combining Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp.

The whole evening activities were broadcasted on live stream platform yizhibo(一直播). I still don’t quite understand why it is so popular, but without any promotion and pre-announcing, we had received 200 page views and 14 likes. Well done pal!

On my way home, I just realized that I didn’t spend any cash on that day, all the transactions were done with my mobile payment accounts WeChat Pay or Alipay. This made me think: do I really need to own a car, a house, 10 different types of cookers, 20 pair of shoes, 50 set of clothes, 1.000 books? Wouldn’t be two pieces of luggage be enough for the rest of my life? My answer is: yes. It may have been difficult ten years ago, but now, it is possible.

In an old industrial society, productivity and the possession of materials and resources were crucial for success. However, in today’s informational society, smart technology has improved the efficiency, and optimized resource allocations. Making customization and pre-emptive solutions possible. As such, we don’t have to own much but are still able to use more abundant resources and materials for a better living. Thanks to the “Sharing Economy” we are now one step closer to the ultimate freedom!

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