Global Tech Opinion

Google’s Fail of a Ramadan App

Earlier this month Google launched a “Ramadan Companion App.” As a Muslim who works in marketing strategy and social media, who has consulted on a number of Muslim-focused marketing projects, this seemed to me like it could be an exciting development. As far as I know, Google has not previously reached out specifically to the global Muslim community. I love apps and I’m always excited to see what’s new and hot and cool. Plus Ramadan was starting. Initial response to Google's app on Facebook was positive and there was a bunch of “attaboy’ing” on community posts saying, "Oh look, Google’s finally paying attention to Muslims." Sad to say, this euphoria was short lived.   More

Global Tech Government Partner Insights

A Critical Moment for the Future of the Internet

The Internet, the greatest invention of our generation—several generations in fact—is in many ways a reflection of the American Dream. It’s vast and open, unlimited in its potential reach. It’s inclusive and welcoming. Anyone can be part of it and make a difference. The fastest growing part of the global economy is Internet-based, and the Internet accounts for a significant and growing portion of global GDP. According to Boston Consulting Group, the Internet is contributing up to 8 percent of GDP in some economies, powering growth and creating jobs. You’d be correct in arguing it’s an American-made innovation. We can trace the roots of the Internet back some 50 years to a U.S. Defense Department research program. But as the Internet has expanded globally, it’s become increasingly clear that one government cannot lay claim to it. The Internet is a worldwide resource. It belongs to everyone.   More

Global Tech Government Partner Insights

Towards a Truly Global Single Digital Market

Europe is in the midst of a messy negotiation on how to build a single digital market—putting all 28 members of the EU under one set of rules. The potential benefits are clear: consumers will gain access to new services, regulations can be made more consistent and growth enhanced by market norms. According to one study, such efficiencies could give the region an estimated $400 billion economic boost in the first year alone. But the ambitions of Brussels policymakers are too small. A single European digital market should be just the first step in the creation of an open global digital market that will allow companies and individuals everywhere to continue to exploit the Internet’s potential.   More

Global Tech Mobile

Apple Holds China Smartphone Crown

Media are fixated on a new report showing China’s smartphone sales fell for the first time in this year’s first quarter, in a development that shouldn’t surprise anyone due to the market’s supersaturation. But equally impressive in the report is the ongoing surge of Apple, which managed to hold onto its title as the nation’s leading smartphone brand for a second quarter after stealing the crown from the high-flying Xiaomi. Some may say Apple’s surge is due to timing, since it released its latest iPhones in October, fueling a fourth-quarter sales boom that lingered into the first quarter. That may be partly true, though I personally have to applaud CEO Tim Cook for mounting a very focused campaign to woo both Beijing and average Chinese consumers.   More

Analytics & Data Global Tech

How Tech Is Helping Relief Efforts in Nepal

As Nepal faces the aftermath of April’s devastating earthquake that claimed over 7,500 lives, technologies like drones, people finders, and crowdsourcing platforms are playing a role in disaster relief. Drones, so often associated with the violence of military warfare, are contributing to emergency-response efforts in Nepal by videoing and mapping the disaster zone. Using thermal sensors and ultra-zoom lenses, camera-equipped drones scan the wreckage and identify survivors. And soon, unmanned aerial vehicles might also be able to deliver critical medical supplies, food, and water to hard-to-reach areas.   More

Global Tech Learning

Educators Unite to Build Vietnam’s Tech Talent

Vietnam’s tech industry is booming. For growth to continue, however, Vietnam must cultivate an increasingly skilled tech workforce and develop new capabilities in research, problem solving, and client service. But building such capabilities requires a major mindset shift at educational institutions, which typically emphasize rote learning over problem solving. Such a change will also challenge companies that opt for rigid hierarchy over the flatter structures that encourage creativity and initiative. To overcome these challenges, many Vietnamese tech companies are partnering with educators, NGOs, and government agencies. Although some companies still think of Vietnam as simply a place for cheap labor, the forward-thinking ones know the country has deeper potential.   More

E-Commerce Global Tech

Beijing Cracks Down on Video and E-Commerce

It seems like I write about the latest Internet crackdown far too often these days, as Beijing focuses on a wide range of industries where it wants to clean up what it sees as unhealthy business practices. Another two such crackdowns are in the headlines as we head into spring, one in the scandal-wracked e-commerce space and the other in online video. Both crackdowns actually began earlier, and these latest moves just show the regulators don’t feel that their job is finished yet.   More

Global Tech

Smart Car Race Speeds Up in China

China is quickly living up to its copycat reputation in the smart car space, with the latest word that Tencent will enter the business in a tie-up with Taiwanese contract manufacturing giant Foxconn. That pair are following Google into the area, but they certainly aren’t the first Chinese to mimic the world’s largest Internet company. That distinction would probably go to Chinese Internet search leader Baidu, which last year announced its own smart car initiative that was also back in the headlines this week as CEO Robin Li discussed the plan. Yet another similar initiative is also in the headlines today, as online video sensation LeTV discussed its own plans to show off its first smart car at the Shanghai auto show next month. This kind of copycatting and bandwagon mentality has become all too common among China’s Internet companies, who all worry about getting left behind by the competition.   More

E-Commerce Global Tech

The Vast Implications of the Networked Economy

Connections are changing the world. The connectivity enabled by the Internet has huge implications for the very structure of the global economy. While estimates of the Net's contribution to economic output vary, it's generally thought that it exceeds individual industry sectors like education, agriculture, and energy. The total value of transactions occurring today online are more than all but three or four of the world's largest national economies. In the past few years, many governments have recognized that there are momentous opportunities to increase their own GDP growth through e-commerce and digital channels, despite the economically challenging times. Data, it is generally agreed, is central to everything.   More

Global Tech Learning

Emerging Market Medical Education Goes Digital

A shortage of skilled health workers is an acute and ongoing problem in many emerging markets. Weak medical education systems bear a major part of the blame. But a big opportunity for rapid progress has emerged as online medical education becomes increasingly common. Doctors and nurses in even the poorest countries can now get better training.   More

Global Tech

Why the “Luxury” of Apple’s Watch Is Beside the Point

After putting down yet another slavishly admiring profile of top Apple designer Jony Ive this weekend in the egregiously-named "How to Spend It" magazine published by the Financial Times, I had a nagging sense that something was wrong. Of course, like all the strategically placed articles about Ive in recent weeks, this one was yet another indirect attempt by Apple to create a slavishly admiring article about the incipient Apple Watch. The Watch, Apple is desperate to let us know, is imminent, and we ought to care. But what is it, exactly, that Apple is telling us we ought to care about?   More

E-Commerce Global Tech

Tencent’s WeChat Trounces Alibaba at Chinese New Year

I remember a time not long ago when we China tech reporters used to write annual stories about the number of people who sent billions of simple Lunar New Year text greetings over their mobile phones. Those days now seem like a distant memory, and new data from Tencent’s WeChat and Alibaba’s Alipay are showing just how small those earlier figures were, even though they seemed impressive at the time. But the real story in this new tide of “red envelope grabbing wars” is the huge victory for Tencent over Alibaba.   More

Global Tech Jobs

Vietnam’s IT Workers Value Passion Over Pay

As Vietnam emerges as a global hotspot for offshore IT services, the country’s tech workers have more employment opportunities than ever before. With IT talent in high demand, job seekers can be selective. Many want more than just good pay. Increasingly, they also want jobs that allow them to learn and to build products that make a difference. A new survey by ITViec, a jobs platform for Vietnam’s tech industry, suggests that Vietnam’s IT workers are driven as much by passion as by profit. Unfortunately, some outsourcing and product companies do not provide such opportunities.   More

Energy & Green Tech Global Tech

Geoengineering: Smart Science or Hail Mary?

In a recent report, a committee appointed by the National Research Council issued a recommendation that the federal government fund research on geoengineering as a means to address global warming. Geongineering, sometimes known as “Plan B,” encompasses technologies that seek to counteract climate change. During a session at Techonomy in 2012, Harvard physicist David Keith said, “If you want to actually reduce the risks to many of the people who will suffer real climate impacts in the next decades, including some of the poorest people in the world, this is essentially the only thing you could do.”   More

Global Tech

Tesla Looks for New China Formula

After roaring into China last year on a wave of hugely positive publicity, electric car superstar Tesla has rapidly lost momentum and now appears on the cusp of a major overhaul in a bid to jump-start its prospects. This kind of development isn’t hard to understand, as Tesla’s charismatic CEO Elon Musk set the bar incredibly high when he sold his company’s first electric vehicle (EV) in China last April.   More

Global Tech

ICANN CEO Fadi Chehadé: The Internet Is a Tool for Solidarity

Where is the Internet taking us, and how do we keep it secure? There’s no shortage of people ready to offer up opinions on such questions, but few who are truly qualified to answer them. Fortunately we asked someone who is—Fadi Chehadé, CEO of ICANN, the public-benefit corporation tasked with keeping the Internet stable. Chehadé calls the Internet a “platform for human solidarity” that enables us to form networks with “people we’ve never met” to share ideas, concepts, and resources—and ultimately build consensus.   More

Global Tech Security & Privacy

Rhetoric Eases, but Troubles Remain in Alibaba Piracy Spat

After reaching a fever pitch last week, rhetoric in the high-profile spat over piracy between e-commerce giant Alibaba and one of China’s main business regulators appears to be softening as the two sides move towards a compromise. The latest headlines say Alibaba and the State Administration For Industry And Commerce (SAIC) have joined hands to fight piracy, marking a sharp toning down of the angry rhetoric that was flying for much of last week.   More

Global Tech

The Mixed Reality of Increasing Global Equity

In late January both Microsoft and the Gates Foundation, two entities founded by the same guy, announced major new directions that have a weird and provocative parallelism. One is a new product category from Microsoft, and the other a new vision for global economic progress from the Gates Foundation. Both merit our attention, not only as organizational initiatives but as powerful visions for the world's future.   More

Global Tech

Apple’s New Security Concessions to Beijing

Apple is deepening its uneasy embrace of Beijing security officials, with word that it has agreed to allow security audits for products that it sells in China. This latest development comes less than a year after Apple took the unusual step of moving some of the user information it collects to China-based servers, which was also aimed at placating security-conscious regulators in Beijing.   More

Global Tech Healthcare

Three NGOs Fighting Tuberculosis with Mobile Tech

Tuberculosis kills over a million people each year, mostly in developing countries, where poor public health systems hamper efforts to diagnose and treat it. But NGOs are now embracing new mobile health technologies that could help fight the disease more efficiently and cost-effectively. Further progress will require expensive efforts in low-resource settings where administering drugs and monitoring compliance can be a logistical nightmare.   More