The Future of Digital Innovation in China: Megatrends Shaping One of the World’s Fastest Evolving Digital Ecosystems

By Lambert BuViolet ChungNick LeungKevin Wei Wang, Bruce Xia, and Chenan Xia

The Future of Digital Innovation in China: Megatrends Shaping One of the World’s Fastest Evolving Digital EcosystemsThe paths taken by Chinese companies have relevant implications for other digital and traditional players as they craft their strategies.

Partners in McKinsey’s Digital Practice discuss the 6 megatrends shaping the future of China’s digital ecosystem.

In a relatively short span of time, China has transitioned from a technological backwater to become one of the world’s largest digital economies.

On the back of its base of nearly one billion internet users, China’s ecommerce sales grew to $1.7 trillion in 2020, a number that is equivalent to 30 percent of all retail sales in China.

But this is not just a story of size. It is, above all, a story of innovation and disruption. In omnichannel retail, social media, on-demand services, mobility, fintech, healthtech, and other domains, the country is developing many “China-first” innovations.

In this report, we take a close look at these innovations, and the forces, trends, and technologies that enable them. We then identify six megatrends that are shaping the future of digital innovation in China.

Finally, we pose a series of quick questions that corporate leaders should consider when crafting their digital strategies in China. By asking the right questions, executives can set their priorities and allocate their resources.

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Washington is the first state to require all-electric heating in new buildings

Most new large apartment and commercial buildings must install heat pumps under the state’s new energy code.

By Emily Pontecorvo

New construction goes up in Bellevue in February 2022. A recently enacted state building code will require most new commercial buildings and large multifamily buildings to install electric heat pumps.

Washington recently became the first state in the country to mandate that newly constructed buildings be outfitted with all-electric space heating and hot water systems. 

The State Building Code Council voted 11-3 on April 22 to adopt a revised energy code that requires most new commercial buildings and large multifamily buildings to install electric heat pumps. The council is expected to consider a similar proposal for smaller residential buildings later this year. 

Heat pumps are an extremely energy-efficient technology that can extract heat from the outside air, even on very cold days, and pump it inside to provide space heating. They can also run in reverse and provide cooling in the summer. The revised code also mandates the use of heat-pump hot water heaters.

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Custom Everything (The Slow, Painful Death of Mass-Market Goods)

 BY SHELLY PALMER

As we slowly begin our transition to post-pandemic behaviors, I’ve been wondering if the dramatic changes forced by the past 24-months have accelerated my thesis about personalization and customization, and the slow, painful death of mass-market goods. Here’s an essay I originally published on November 4, 2018. I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

In the early part of the 20th century, three industries – mass manufacturing, mass distribution, and mass communications – completely reshaped consumer behavior. The transition from artisanal goods to modern mass production is the stuff of legend. I remember being awestruck when I toured a Coca-Cola bottling plant with my sixth-grade class. The manager was very proud of the fact that the company could produce tens of thousands of identical-looking, identical-tasting bottles of Coke per day. In practice, every mass-manufacturing facility evolved into a marvel of logistics and productivity. The value creation was immense.

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These are the top 10 tech trends that will shape the coming decade, according to McKinsey

According to McKinsey, these are the 10 top technologies attracting the attention and funds of investors and technologists.

By Sean Fleming

  • We’ll experience more technological progress in the coming decade than we did in the preceding 100 years put together, says McKinsey.
  • And 10 tech trends will dominate this shifting landscape.
  • Understanding the effects of this change can help avoid nasty shocks to the system, for both individuals and organizations.
  • Businesses that are making the most of advances in tech are also in a good place to make the most in terms of return on their investments.

The pace of change in the technology sector has always been brisk. As much as 10 years worth of growth in e-commerce may have been compressed into just three months in late 2019, according to McKinsey & Company, which predicts that we’ll experience more technological progress in the coming decade than we did in the preceding 100 years put together. 

Any change can be unsettling and keeping pace with developments even more so. Part of the challenge is knowing which are the most significant changes and which are the ones that are less likely to bear fruit. 

According to McKinsey, these are the 10 top technologies attracting the attention and funds of investors and technologists. They are also the ones most likely to feature prominently in the changing face of the modern workplace. Understanding the impact they will have on organizations and on the people whose jobs will be affected, could be key to avoiding any of the worst downsides of the disruption that may follow.

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Ranked: The World’s Fastest Growing Cities

By Avery Koop

By 2025, the world’s population will reach over 8.1 billion people.

Most of that population growth will be concentrated in cities across Africa and Asia. To help paint a detailed picture, this map uses data from the United Nations to rank the top 20 fastest growing cities in the world in terms of average annual growth rate from 2020 to 2025.

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The economic consequences of a smaller nation are more dire, and more wide-ranging, than commonly believed

America’s population may be shrinking. That’s mostly because of Covid, but it’s also part of longer-term trends in fertility that show no signs of abating. These trends, which are worldwide, have already caused major economic dislocation and are likely to continue to do so.

First, some data. From 1936 to 1956, the U.S. fertility rate rose from 1.8 to 3.2. At the peak of the baby boom, the average woman in the U.S. was having at least three children who survived until adulthood. (A rate of 2.1 is considered replacement level, holding the population steady over time.)

The result was a huge generation that not only transformed American culture, but also created a market and labor pool for would-be entrepreneurs and growing corporations. From the 1960s through the mid-1980s, net domestic investment by private businessesaveraged 5.4% of GDP each year. One dollar of every $20 spent in the U.S. economy was directed toward expanding the size and scope of private enterprise.

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Demographics and the Future of South Korea

South Korea is bracing for a momentous demographic shift that could be a bellwether of how other countries around the world will deal with aging populations in the decades to come.

By CHUNG MIN LEE,  KATHRYN BOTTO

How long can South Korea retain its global economic and technological competitiveness? Will the country maintain credible deterrence and defense postures well into the future? Are existing socioeconomic inequalities likely to worsen with worsening demographic trends? These questions lie at the heart of South Korea’s demographic trajectory.

South Korea’s ability to comprehensively address its demographic transition will affect every facet of its well-being, international image, national security, and even potential post-unification dynamics. This compendium examines various dimensions of South Korean society and the country’s geopolitical influence in light of its unprecedented demographic changes, which are already underway.

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India is in the middle of a much-needed start-up revolution

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India now has 38,756 officially-recognised start-ups –– with 27 unicorns, eight of which achieved this status in 2020 –– and is the third-largest tech start-up hub globally.

Entrepreneurs today are utilising the unprecedented advances from technology, operating on the demands of our demography, and inadvertently steering citizen welfare.

Five years since Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Start-Up India initiative, we are witnessing a golden chapter in the history of Indian entrepreneurship.

India now has 38,756 officially-recognised start-ups –– with 27 unicorns, eight of which achieved this status in 2020 –– and is the third-largest tech start-up hub globally.

According to Praxis Global Alliance, start-ups are growing at an average rate of 12–15% annually. Start-ups have raised $63 billion between 2016–20 in funding, $20 billion of which was raised in 2019 over 1,854 deals. Investments in start-ups are growing incrementally each year ($12 billion, $25.2 billion, $26.3 billion, and $34 billion invested in the last four years, respectively), with $16.7 billion till May 2020. Start-Up India kickstarted an entrepreneurship revolution. Several policy interventions were since announced, giving the entrepreneurial ecosystem a much-needed launchpad. The overhaul of the digital payments ecosystem is being led by State innovation, with Aadhaar, Jan Dhan, UPI, and India Stack. The Atal Innovation Mission, Niti Aayog, has built an ecosystem of 8,800 tinkering labs, 4,000 mentors and over two-and-a-half million students, and acted as a conduit for over 3,500 innovations while supporting 1,500 start-ups.

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The 5 most in-demand skills at America’s top start-ups, according to LinkedIn

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According to LinkedIn, start-ups seek key job skills like programming proficiency and data analysis.

 Learning some new technology could go a long way in landing a new job.

As the coronavirus pandemic forces companies to shift parts of their business online, employers are searching for candidates who are proficient in tech or can learn quickly. Among the top 50 start-ups in the United States, in fact, the five most in-demand skills are all tech-related.

That’s according to new data from LinkedIn, which analyzed the skill sets of recent hires at across the country’s top start-ups, which include familiar names like food-delivery app DoorDash and bedding company Brooklinen. Overwhelmingly, the findings show, employers hired job seekers with data savvy, programming acumen, and strength in sales and marketing.

“When you receive 150 applications for one opening, employers care ever more about quality and about qualifications,” Julia Pollak, labor economist at ZipRecuiter, told Grow in October. “If you can take some time and invest in a certification or some online qualification, that can make you more competitive in the future.”

Here are the five most in-demand skills in America’s top 50 start-ups.

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Top tech trends for 2021: Gartner predicts hyperautomation, AI and more will dominate business technology

Top strategic technology trends for the enterprise

Operational resiliency is key as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to change how companies will do business next year.

There are nine top strategic technology trends that businesses should plan for in 2021 as the pandemic continues, according to Gartner’s analysts. Their findings were presented on Monday at the virtual Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo Americas conference, which runs through Thursday.

Organizational plasticity is key to these trends. “When we talk about the strategic technology trends, we actually have them grouped into three different themes, which is people centricity, location independence, and resilient delivery,” said Brian Burke, research vice president at Gartner. “What we’re talking about with the trends is how do you leverage technology to gain the organizational plasticity that you need to form and reform into whatever’s going to be required as we emerge from this pandemic?”

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IQ rates are dropping in many developed countries and that doesn’t bode well for humanity

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 IQ rates are dropping and we’re too stupid to figure out why.

 An intelligence crisis could undermine our problem-solving capacities and dim the prospects of the global economy.

IQ rates are falling across Western Europe, and experts are scratching their heads as to why.May 22, 2019, 2:31 AM MDT

People are getting dumber. That’s not a judgment; it’s a global fact. In a host of leading nations, IQ scores have started to decline.

Though there are legitimate questions about the relationship between IQ and intelligence, and broad recognition that success depends as much on other virtues like grit, IQ tests in use throughout the world today really do seem to capture something meaningful and durable. Decades of research have shown that individual IQ scores predict things such as educational achievement and longevity. More broadly, the average IQ score of a country is linked to economic growth and scientific innovation.

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‘Zoom towns’ are exploding in the West

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And many cities aren’t ready for the onslaught.

First, there were boomtowns. Now, there are Zoom towns.

The coronavirus pandemic is leading to a new phenomenon: a migration to “gateway communities,” or small towns near major public lands and ski resorts as people’s jobs increasingly become remote-friendly. This is straining the towns’ resources and putting pressure on them to adapt.

A new paper published in the Journal of the American Planning Association shows that populations in these communities were already growing before COVID-19 hit, leading to some problems traditionally thought of as urban issues, like lack of affordable housing, availability of public transit, congestion, and income inequality. And while COVID-19 has accelerated the friction, the study suggests that urban planners can help places adjust.

There has been a drastic increase in remote work since March, when the pandemic hit the U.S. Nearly 60% of employees are now working remotely full or part time, according to a recent Gallup poll. Nearly two-thirds of employees who have been working remotely would like to continue to do so, according to that same poll. That would seemingly give workers a lot more flexibility when it comes to where they call home.

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