YINCHUAN, April 28 (Xinhua) -- During the Spring Festival holiday, Hua Jing, 25, shuttled around caring for and spending time with feline friends in Yinchuan, the capital city of northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.
Her new furry companions, however, did not belong to Hua's friends but to complete strangers online who she met through Xianyu, a consumer-to-consumer marketplace spun from Alibaba's Taobao.
The business, which mainly depends on the kindness of strangers, was developed by a young urbanite hailing from central China's Hubei Province, once hard hit by COVID-19.
Hua, being a cat addict herself, came up with the idea of helping cat owners when they needed to take holiday and leave their pets behind.
"Young, empty-nesters in big cities far away from their hometown have unprecedented demand for petsitting," Hua said, adding that during this year's Spring Festival holiday, over 30,000 orders to care for others' cats were placed on the platform, Xianyu.
Given the surging demand, the need for well-trained petsitters is evident, according to Hua.
Modern society has fueled stronger mobility and independence in young city-dwellers, while supporting facilities and social systems enable them to buy customized services rather than asking their friends or acquaintances for help, said Wang Shuixiong, a researcher and professor of the National Academy of Development and Strategy at Renmin University of China.
Trading second-hand goods, the initial focus of Xianyu, is no longer the only content on the platform as more and more citizens come up with diversified services including tomb-sweeping by proxy and house swaps during holiday.
Online supervised learning is another hot service category on the all-embracing platform.
Tang, 35, as resident of Changsha, capital of central China's Hunan Province, has accompanied more than 500 students through tedious self-learning in study rooms since September 2020.
By hiring people to check their progress and create study plans, the young clients, mainly college students, manage to accomplish goals that once seemed almost out of reach.
"Cheering on classmates or friends sometimes cannot reach the ideal effects compared with professional supervision by strangers via video call or social media platforms," Tang said.
Charging less than a dollar a day for such supervised learning, Tang is glad to see many of her clients passing postgraduate entrance exams or language testing exams for their future studies abroad.
"After placing an order, pet owners mail me their keys so I can enter their homes and take care of their cats. Such trust given by complete strangers makes me deeply touched," Hua said. Enditem