Dozens of digital sharing ventures are already driving economic and social change in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, and there is potential for these models to address some of the world’s thorniest development challenges.
Digital sharing is already massive, and here to stay. Make no mistake, this is not a trend. We estimate global sharing economy revenues to be $25 -$30 billion per year, and expect the global sharing economy to grow 25-30% a year for the foreseeable future.
What is the Digital Sharing Economy?
Sharing assets – physical, financial, and/or human capital –
between many, without transferring ownership, via a digital platform
to create economic value for at least two parties.
However, that doesn’t mean the sharing economy is irrelevant to the world’s poorest. Quite the opposite.
As digital sharing models grow in size and expand into new geographies, we think emerging economies are where these companies will truly flourish. Why? Because the heart of the model, sharing via technology, converts these markets’ liabilities – scarce assets and abundant labor – into opportunities.
What’s more, those in emerging markets are, as a whole, more disposed to share: 64% of people in the world with access to the internet are willing to share their assets or services online for financial gain. In India, it’s 78%. In Mexico? 79%. In China? 94% of people with access to the internet are likely to participate in a digital sharing community, given the option. Compare that to the 43% of North Americans who express willingness to participate in online sharing. On average, we estimate that people in emerging markets are around forty to fifty percent more likely to engage in digital sharing – given access to the right tools – than people in the US and Western Europe. 
Let’s zero in on just one sector: digital sharing in finance, often called “crowdfunding.” Roughly 600-700 crowdfunding platforms are operating in over 45 countries, delivering approximately $35 billion to entrepreneurs and small businesses through lending and investment. To put that into perspective, HSBC, the UK’s largest bank, lent just under $1 billion to its customers in 2014. Even more interesting: these crowdfunding dollar volumes doubled from last year, and are growing fastest in Asia and South America. 
The key principles that underpin current digital sharing models are potent and globally applicable. Organizations that apply them successfully can create tremendous value. Here we’ve laid out how the digital sharing economy can address three pressing development needs:
Apart from the three examples we’ve chosen above, there are many other current — and future — applications of digital sharing models, from disaster relief to peer-to-peer education.