Chinese steel and coal workers can become Didi drivers until self driving arrives

China’s new economy – internet-based business ranging from e-commerce to car-hailing services – grew twice as quickly as overall gross domestic product in the 10 years to 2016.

The number of new jobs created by technology-based industries increased at a rate that outpaced job creation in the economy as a whole by more than 20 times during the same decade.

The new economy expanded at an average annual rate of 16.1 percent in the 10-year period starting in 2007, 1.9 times faster than overall GDP growth, according to research by the Institute of Population and Labour Economics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) found.

The number of vacancies in the new economy increased by 7.2 percent annually in the same period, 22 times the rate of job creation in the country as a whole, giving it “great potential to offset the lay-off pressure brought by overcapacity cuts”, the report’s authors said in a media release on Tuesday.

The new economy sector accounted for 14.6 percent of China’s total economy in 2016, and contributed 10 percent of total employment that year, according to CASS, which forecasts that it will continue to thrive, creating a million new jobs every year until 2020.

Chinese ride-hailing app Didi created 2.9 million jobs between June 30, 2016 and June 30, 2017. It is a buffer against layoffs to reduce overcapacity in traditional sectors.