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Digital tech driving emerging economies faster than ever before: Alibaba’s Luohan Academy

Digital tech driving emerging economies faster than ever before: Alibaba’s Luohan Academy
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Mobile internet, e-commerce, mobile payments and internet-based services are driving emerging market growth faster than ever before, according to a study by Alibaba’s Luohan Academy.

The report, which handled China as the base subject, was showcased at an event at the 2019 World Economic Forum at Davos.

The event featured a high-profile panel that comprised Jack Ma, Alibaba’s executive chairman; Michael Spence, Nobel Prize winner and professor of economics at New York University; Kristalina Georgieva, chief executive of World Bank and Queen Maxima of Netherlands.

The panel discussed how, at the micro level, technology is providing ease of business, better reach to consumers, and enabling better finances.

The report indicated that digital technology was capable of high inclusive growth, which was more impactful than previous tech revolutions -- the biggest factor in the current scenario being better government policies and smoother public-private sectors’ cooperation.

“Experience in China and other emerging markets shows the tremendous potential of a new growth path, one that makes development more inclusive and sustainable,” said Chen Long, director of Luohan Academy.

Four lessons from China

The report identified four key areas where technology made a difference for China.

First, it is crucial to lower the skill threshold to use technology, in other terms, technology has to be simplified in such a manner that it could be used by all walks of society. The panel pointed out how e-tailer households in rural China were able to earn double that of households which were not into e-tail, without having any formal education.

The second takeaway was the requirement to leverage digital platforms to create an ecosystem that can grow rapidly. The talk elaborated on the role of platforms that facilitated interactions with low costs, high efficiency and reliability.

The speakers touched on the third aspect of forming a macro-environment where public-private partnerships engage in effective investments to provide digital technology to the public.

The fourth point stressed being wary of effects that weren’t expected. The panel spoke of technological unemployment, abuse of information, inequalities and outdated policies that could have a profound impact on economies.

There was also a special mention of separating facts from speculation, in other words, to shun fake news.

The study on China said that newer tech and market access positively impacted developing countries more as compared to their developed counterparts.

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