A front-page leader in The Economist (28 January, 2017) showcases how in an era of protectionism, global companies are now in retreat. On the other hand, the world has become even more globalized and inter-connected, breeding a new generation of global enterprises and nimble, innovative small-and-medium-sized businesses, thanks to the pervasive internet and its integrated technologies and platforms. China alone now boasts of some 700 million netizens, more than double the entire population of the United States. The number of internet users is similarly rising across the globe, including Latin America and Africa, thanks to the ubiquitous smart phone and supporting networks.
Nothing illustrates the power of internet-economics better than President Trump’s apparent agreement that Jack Ma’s Alibaba internet-driven global business empire could help create a million American jobs by selling US goods and services to China and the rest of Asia, Trump’s China-bashing and protectionist rhetoric notwithstanding.
According to Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, instead of simple digitization (the Third Industrial Revolution), innovative combination of technologies (the Fourth Industrial Revolution) is upending business models, labor markets, socio-political matrix, and is reshaping our economic, social, cultural, and human environments.
A key trend is the development of technology-enabled platforms that combine both demand and supply to disrupt existing industry structures, such as the “sharing” or “on demand” internet economy.
The dynamics are multiplied by technology breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles, 3-D printing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, materials science, energy storage, and quantum computing.
In this topsy-turvy world of the 21st century, understanding internet economics, its complexity and operations, as well as its models, mechanisms and management, would be invaluable to practicing network designers and engineers as well as to industry managers and academic researchers.
For them and broader policy formulators, Dr Hans W. Gottinger’s book is a treasure-trove of timely, meticulous research.
Readers will find scholarly treatments of a variety of interrelated topics, including internet supply and demand, supply chain analytics, distributed market agencies, Quality of Service (QoS), network modelling and security, aggregated outcomes, output analysis covering financial services, healthcare and legal services, total factor productivity, Big Data, cloud computing, and much more.
I have no hesitation in commending Dr Gottinger’s book for all who are interested in exploring the complex, fast-moving, and integrated world of internet economics.
Andrew K P Leung
Andrew Leung International Consultants,
European Centre for e-Commerce and Internet Law,
Berkshire Publishing Group, Massachusetts,