By John Calverley, Standard Chartered
Around the world, governments are jostling to be at the forefront of new technologies. Policies range from tax breaks, research grants, and science parks to subsidising innovative start-ups and favouring domestic firms when buying technology.
Some of this is undoubtedly helpful in driving technological development. However, adoption, not invention, is the main driver of economic growth in most countries. Read more
By John Calverley, Standard Chartered
Concern over rising inequality has increased in recent years. While inequality has fallen between countries, as rapid economic growth has helped emerging economies catch up with the developed world, there seems little doubt that inequality within countries has risen for most.
Technology is just one factor at play – along with globalisation, taxation and reduced union power – but its effect on economies is a key to understanding how income gaps evolve over time. Read more
Even before the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) published its election manifesto and before India’s new prime minister, Narendra Modi, set out his plans for the country, there was something different about the winning campaign.
The 63 year-old candidate revolutionised electioneering in India which, until then, had relied on billboards, handouts and door-to-door appeals. Suddenly, a leading politician was active on social media, reaching out to the diaspora through Google Hangout sessions and reaching the far corners of the country with video links and holograms (pictured). Now, Modi plans to change his administration in much the same way. Read more
In 2005 Henry Lin, a young professor at Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, was working with a scientist from mobile maker Nokia when they discovered something unusual. It was malware, on the Symbian platform that powered most of Nokia’s smartphones at the time; the first known instance of malicious software appearing on a smartphone. And to Lin, it was an opportunity.
Lin, his colleague Vincent Shi and five graduate students cobbled together $15,000 from their families and set up NQ Mobile on the premise that mobile phone security was going to become every bit as important as personal computer security. Eight years on, the company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and has 242m users in 150 countries. Read more
Picture: Katrina Manson
Pupils at a school on the green slopes of Mount Kenya no longer have eyes for the blackboard. Instead they are transfixed by a $500 tablet.
Belinda, 19, touches the screen gingerly and is amazed to discover an icon that allows her to film herself within seconds of her first touch of a computer. So speedy is the take-up of tech know-how in Kenya’s first “white space” rural broadband pilot scheme, its backers hope the idea could one day be copied throughout the continent. Read more
Thousands of IT start-ups dream of that golden phone call from an industry giant offering to buy out the business– a vision that until now has been a bit of a hallucination for Polish entrepreneurs.
That changed this week with Amazon’s purchase of Ivona Software, a Polish maker of text-to-speech software, already used in the retailer’s Kindle Fire tablets. Read more
By Dmitry Lisenkov of Rusnano
With a long history of scientific breakthroughs, a growing market for high technology and tangible commitment from the government to economic modernisation, Russia is well placed to diversify its economy with high-tech innovation.
International venture capital companies are starting to see the opportunities. I believe that with enough effort from the Russian public and private sectors to leverage the country’s technological and VC resources, the potential of Russia’s innovation can be turned into reality. Read more