Commentary

[SCMP Column] The Need for Legal Rethink

June 19, 2017

Even if they decide they have to act, the challenge is how. How does one create competition when a company like Google offers online shoppers its search services for free? How does a regulator prove anti-competitive intent when the offender is an algorithm? As a recent OECD report asked: “Finding ways to prevent collusion between self-learning algorithms might be one of the biggest challenges that competition law enforcers have ever faced.” Understanding how digital dominance works, and how to regulate it, is at present an unanswered challenge.

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[SCMP Column] Changing the Guard

November 07, 2015

So we have entered a period when the US, above all others, needs to come gradually to terms with the need to share hegemonic power. No doubt Russia and India nurture (less plausible) hegemonic aspirations, but the serious challenge is to recognise the irreversible reality of China’s ascent, and to embrace it, rather than try to crush it.

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[SCMP Column] World's middle class set for sea change within 15 years

April 23, 2015

In short, whereas today Europe and North America dominate world middle class consumption, accounting for 64 per cent of a total of $21.3 trillion (a dominance that has stayed steady for most of the past 200 years), by 2030, that share will have fallen to 30 per cent of a total of nearly $56 trillion. The Asia-Pacific, driven by consumers in India and China, will have risen from 23 per cent of consumption today, to 59 per cent.

If these predictions are anywhere near accurate, and if I were CEO of a manufacturer based in Frankfurt or Birmingham or Dallas, the message is clear: build an Asian presence as soon as possible.

I had a surreal feeling absorbing all this data, because India’s economy seems as quagmired as ever, and because we are still obsessively anxious about faltering growth in the Chinese economy, and the dramatic impact of the anti-corruption campaign on luxury spending on the Mainland.

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