- Younger populations and robust technology infrastructure is giving emerging market countries a potential competitive advantage.
- China has already overtaken the US for top five unicorn values and produced global technology leaders including Alibaba and Tencent.
- Governments in many EM countries are pushing a strong digital agenda, including smart cities and incentives for technology companies.
Technology has transformed the global economy in the last decade and made it easier to transfer knowledge. Now it’s giving emerging markets a competitive advantage, allowing them in some cases to be more agile and innovative than developed economies.
In our video, we explain how EM countries’ younger populations – around 90% of the world’s population under 30 live in a developing or transition economy – mean they can adapt to technology a lot faster. One of the highest global penetration rates for mobile is in South-east Asia. The infrastructure already in place and there is plenty of entrepreneurial drive to use it.
Similarly, e-commerce is rapidly growing in Latin America enabling companies to reach consumers that were previously inaccessible.
Perhaps the most dramatic digitization story is in China, which has overtaken the US for top five unicorn values and produced global technology leaders including Alibaba and Tencent. Chinese companies have created ecosystems that incorporate the functionality of Facebook, eBay and Amazon all in one app – that’s meant they haven’t had to create a huge infrastructure to facilitate their growth. More broadly, the new wave of digital – where everything is in the cloud and mobile – is helping emerging market players, and especially those from China.
At the same time governments in many EM countries are pushing a strong digital agenda, including smart cities and incentives for technology companies: Cape Town is now Amazon’s center for cloud computer programming, for example.
Technology has moved from being a challenge in itself to being a critical enabler to address the opportunities and challenges that many industries face. Technology gives the world the ability to work at scale, in real-time and at near zero marginal cost – it will be transformational for EM countries.
For more detailed information about some of the themes in this video, read the following reports:
Jez Mohideen, Global Chief Digital Officer, Wholesale
Euben Paracuelles, Senior ASEAN Economist