Since Reform and Opening Up began in 1978, China has witnessed exponential double-digit GDP growth. While the coastal regions provided most of China's GDP growth, central and western China were quickly outpaced, as they lacked both the openness and the infrastructure needed to adopt this model. Coastal-inland inequalities are now closing the gap.
"Although today's digital manufacturing machines are still in their infancy, they can already be used to make (almost) anything, anywhere. That changes everything," said Neil Gershenfeld, Director at MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms. Autonomous robotics, 3D printing, cloud computing, Internet of Things and sensor technologies are driving a paradigm shift in manufacturing. The new era of industrial production builds on the concept of cyber-physical systems. Consumers are expected to play an ever greater role in this new model.
ParisTech Review has a passion for alternative and disruptive economic models, those that may shape tomorrow's economy. Here are seven articles, published between 2011 and today, presenting seven major innovative models.
Is the global crisis behind us? The divergent development of major emerging countries, Europe and the United States reminds us that despite a strong tendency for unification during the past two decades, despite our growing interdependence, the world economy is still highly fragmented. Under the circumstance, it doesn't make sense to draw a general picture without taking a closer look at these differences: between emerging and advanced countries, between the United States and Europe, and even within Europe itself.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and expert systems are less trendy in 2014 than they were back in 1974 but since that time they have never ceased developing and the processing power of today's computers opens ever wider prospects. In the same way that robots have changed factories, the rapid advent of expert systems has changed numerous skilled office workers' jobs. Some have been transformed, others destroyed. What is at stake is the very existence of our middle-classes, the core of modern economies. But the final word here is not written on the wall yet, inasmuch as the concept of expertise is also changing very rapidly.
Enterprises are now able to collect all kind of real-time information about the needs of each consumer. They can provide innovative products that are neither goods nor services but something else, in between, that could be called solutions. Around these solutions we are witnessing the emergence of original business models, and more generally, of a new economy.
Social business and new models of access to goods and services: can they help multinational companies from developed countries reinvent themselves? Or even, can they become levers of strategic renewal for these firms? Danone's experience suggests they can indeed. However, precise analysis of the underlying processes is required if we are to discern the factors that lead to success.
After missing the first and second industrial revolution, Africa looks set to adopt the third. By combining low-cost services, live information and simple innovations, by making these features available to farms of all sizes, the mobile Internet can allow African agriculture to move up a gear in order to meet its immense needs.
The African digital boom has already begun. McKinsey estimates that the contribution of the Internet to the annual GDP of Africa could rise from $18 billion in 2014 to $300 billion in 2025. Yet, all the countries are not addressing the digital wave with the same attitude.
African nations are seldom mentioned in the world ranking of innovative countries, but things could change with the rise of a new generation of technologies that perform many financial transactions from mobile phones. Today, mobile banking opens a new avenue for development. But can this model be exported?
Institutions, and not only technology, are a driver for change. In India, a recent experience shows promising and somehow unexpected outcomes. The goal? Ensuring greater transparency and competition in the award of government contracts. The result? Greater transparency, indeed; but also a new, efficient tool for conflict resolution.
Disruptive technologies have given the old science of onomastics unprecedented powers. Combined with datamining, extracting semantics from names can provide numerous, valuable applications. Though discriminating names carries a high risk of abuse, it can also drive new, unexpected ways for developing poor areas.
The open data movement has reached a significant and ever-growing number of states and governments. From New York to Paris, from Nairobi to Singapore, an increasing number of territories offer open sets of data. To fully understand the stakes of this movement, one of the first techno-political ideas to spread at the network speed, one has to track its origins.
A few decades ago, when Africa was crumbling under the burden of debt, economic forecasts were very pessimistic. But the vigorous growth of African economies has proven them wrong. Where does the African growth come from? What are its specificities? What does Africa need to be able to race with other great emerging countries?
Between planned economy and privatization, Chinese capitalism is trailblazing its original path. What will the next twenty years be like? To form an idea, we must go over the course of reforms that have been carried out so far, while taking the full measure of a major phenomenon, which should encompass 300 million more people within a few years: urbanization.
Launched in 2009, the Unique Identification Authority of India is a megaproject mixing the latest information technologies and basic development requirements. Its objective is both simple and ambitious: to provide a unique identity number to all residents in the country. Helping the poorest to access the modern economy and society is an emergency and a key to economic and social development. It is also a challenge, and not only a technical one.
Is the globalization wave starting to wane? Various recent indicators suggest that Western companies have started reshoring manufacturing jobs, those qualified and well-paid jobs that provided a social platform for the development of industrialized countries. But experts disagree on both the magnitude and the meaning of this phenomenon. Only on one fact do they agree: the United States will be the largest lab of the reshoring process.
During its 18th Congress held in last November, the Chinese Communist Party has been discussing the country's economic future. At a time when many questions arise about its upcoming challenges, one must take a look back at the current model. Will the spectacular success of the Chinese economy bring forth a Beijing consensus as a successor to the Washington consensus?
Has international trade come to a standstill with the crisis that started in 2008? Things are not that simple, says the Director-General of the WTO. While protectionist pressures may appear here and there, the real question revolves around the growing complexity of trade and the structural limits inherent to the technique of negotiation rounds undertaken by member states.
The digital revolution is not only a matter of technologies. The players involved can be described as radical innovators, whose work has a direct impact on social exchanges - from friendship to trade. The shock wave is gradually spilling out of our screens and hitting the rest of the economy. The concept of multitude helps us grasp what is at stake.