Digital transformation

Visitors are pictured in front of an immersive art installation titled "Machine Hallucinations - Space: Metaverse" by media artist Refik Anadol, at the Digital Art Fair, in Hong Kong, China, 30 September 2021. (Tyrone Siu/Reuters)

Metaverse: A bubble that could soon burst?

One of the hottest buzzwords recently is the metaverse. In this first article in a series on the topic, technology expert Yin Ruizhi explains what the metaverse is, what would make it viable and why creating the metaverse is still very much a pipe dream.
Visitors are pictured in front of an immersive art installation titled "Machine Hallucinations — Space: Metaverse" by media artist Refik Anadol, which will be converted into NFT and auctioned online at Sotheby's, at the Digital Art Fair, in Hong Kong, China, 30 September 2021. (Tyrone Siu/File Photo/Reuters)

Metaverse: A chance to build a better world

Academic Pei Sai Fan says that one should dream big with the metaverse and not only see it as a new avenue of making money. By creating a new virtual universe from scratch, we can make good use of the blockchain-based metaverse to promote an equitable, more transparent and more inclusive rules-based international digital currency and financial system and enhance the global governance system to deal with issues facing all countries. This would require a global approach and China is well placed technologically to actively participate and lead the effort with like-minded nations in creating such a metaverse. It would be a pity if countries squandered such an opportunity to truly build a better world for all mankind.
In this file photo taken on 23 October 2019, a Facebook employee tries out an Oculus device at the company's corporate headquarters campus in Menlo Park, California. (Josh Edelson/AFP)

China-US competition: Who will set the rules in a digital world?

Analyst Zheng Weibin says that while the China-US competition is a tussle for power that some would compare to the Cold War of the 20th century, digital technology is making all the difference in the 21st century. Today's competition is taking place amid changing definitions of national strength and economic power, and China needs to catch up in terms of growing its digital economy and meeting the challenges that come with it.
A sign indicating digital yuan, also referred to as e-CNY, is pictured at a shopping mall in Shanghai, China, 5 May 2021. (Aly Song/Reuters)

China’s central bank digital currency (CBDC) innovations

In part 2 of his article on China’s digital currency ambitions, James Pang takes a look at how a Chinese central bank-issued digital currency — the DCEP — can complement existing e-payment methods and have an edge over traditional cash and cryptocurrencies when it is fully rolled out. Being the first major economy to launch a CBDC, China’s experience will be useful for other countries looking to hop onto the digital currency bandwagon. Utilisation of Chinese DCEP could also aid the process of internationalising the Chinese Yuan (RMB).
Some items featured on Mi Crowdfunding. (Screen grabs from Mi Crowdfunding)

China's livestreaming e-commerce: The million dollar business fueling product innovation

Recently, Xinba, one of the biggest influencers on Chinese streaming platform Kuaishou, sold US$300 million worth of goods in a single 12-hour session, in a testament to the enormous pull of livestreaming e-commerce. Research shows that crowdfunded products often rely on livestreaming e-commerce to convey product information and funnel early adopters. Such an ecosystem creates a positive business environment for producing and marketing new products. Technology specialist Yin Ruizhi looks at how live-streaming e-commerce is fast giving China the edge in product innovation.
Motorists travel past a screen displaying stock figures in Shanghai, China, on 18 February 2021. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

Innovation and ‘new retail’ driving the Chinese economy

Commentator David Ng explores the changes that are happening in China with developments in technology that allow vast changes in business models, from traditional offline transactions to online business, and “new retail”, which combines the two. How will the Chinese economy grow under these forces?
People walk along a bridge that connects two shopping malls in Jakarta on 14 February 2021. (Adek Berry/AFP)

Chinese academics: How China and ASEAN can deepen digital economy partnership

With the conclusion of the 1st ASEAN Digital Ministers Meeting (ADGMIN) last month and the series of digital policies introduced, ASEAN is ready to move forward on building an integrated digital economy. Even as ASEAN aims to become an important player in the digital global value chain, there are areas where China and ASEAN can work together to achieve a win-win situation. Professor Zhai Kun of Peking University and Yuan Ruichen, member of the research group of the BRI Big Data Innovation Experimental Project, suggest cooperation in areas such as building smart cities, cybersecurity and digital governance.
This file photo taken on 27 October 2020 shows a woman walking past an Alipay advertising billboard in a subway in Beijing. (Greg Baker/AFP)

Building an integrated digital economy: How Asia can continue to thrive in the post-pandemic era

With the pandemic showing little signs of slowing and as countries around the world shift away from the traditional economy, academic Pei Sai Fan notes that this is an opportune time for Asia to boost its digital economic sector. Namely, there will be the opportunity to consider building a more integrated Asian digital economy and to promote Asian digital trade and a common digital currency.
Signage for the digital yuan, also referred to as E-CNY, at a self check-out counter inside a supermarket in Shenzhen, China, on 20 November 2020. (Yan Cong/Bloomberg)

Token economics: How Singapore can boost synergy with China in building digital economies

Academics Pei Sai Fan, David Lee and Yan Li say that an understanding of other countries’ technological culture and policies is crucial in advancing digital economic cooperation. For instance, in the main, Singapore and China are able to mutually respect the differences in their blockchain and token policies, and focus on the complementarity of their approaches. Together, they can deepen their collaboration on central bank digital currencies and other projects, and lead the way regionally and globally in building digital economies of the future.