As the world becomes more digitally intertwined, competition between its major economies grows more combative, as evidenced by the US-China trade battles and legal actions. No sector is more impacted than frontline information and communications technology, in which much of today’s warfare between the two heavyweights rages. At the inception of a new year and a new decade, is there reason to hope for cooperation toward shared growth and prosperity?
Sovereign wealth funds are state-owned funds used by especially Middle Eastern and Asian governments to support projects they feel will promote domestic growth and welfare; lately, they have been shifting to emerging-technology opportunities. One difference between SWFs and other funds is a willingness to wait to realize long-term returns; technology firms with vast potential to serve private and public interests are proving to be the perfect targets for SWF investment.
There are times when no one wants to see history repeat itself, and that’s the case among today’s investors in technology stocks. Some fear that the dot-com bubble burst of 2000 may repeat itself 20 years later. Although some tech stocks may be overvalued, the flourishing Fourth Industrial Revolution displays no signs of running out of steam any time soon. Caution is advised but not panic.
Open Banking, which allows third parties to build applications around the activities of established banks, is curtailing the way banks have always functioned. The tried-and-true vertical-integration model, through which a bank maintains a firm grip on all of its operations, is being replaced by a more cooperative approach. How will innovative banks fulfill their roles as suppliers, producers and retailers of financial products and services in the Open Banking era?
For banks, cloud computing appears to be the perfect answer to the growth of big data—and the necessity to manage and exploit it. This shared pool of information offers increased efficiency at lower cost, but adoption can be challenging for banks, with regulators expressing concerns especially regarding customer data protection. Fortunately, success is within reach through effective collaboration between banks, regulators and cloud providers.
2017 has been a good year for US stock-market indices, in large measure due to the staggering performances of the Big Five of the technology sector, which are hitting levels not seen since the dotcom boom 20 years ago. Characterized by unmatched success in such areas as platform strength, innovation reinvestment, acquisitions and talent attraction, these technology giants seem guaranteed to keep on winning.
In the United States, the average car spends 96 percent of its time parked on a parking space or in a garage. The rest of the world isn’t much better. Yet, regardless of all those cars just sitting and doing nothing, it is reported that 1.2 million people are killed in road accidents per year worldwide.
Blockchain, the technology underlying bitcoin, is poised to enter the mainstream with about 30 medium and large banks planning to put it into use by 2017. Applications range from reference data (real-time sharing of information about transactions within a bank and with external parties), retail payments, consumer lending and trade finance.