Watch a full recording of the session ‘Future Proofing the Internet Economy’ at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting of the New Champions by using the video player below or following this link. Highlights from the session, including videos featuring Jack Ma and top quotes, can be viewed further down the page.



Globalization has worked for multinationals that know how to function across borders, work with governments and build good solutions around the world, but it has not directly benefited small businesses. Innovative trade rules, combined with the power of the internet economy, could help small enterprises become global.

In 2016, the digital economy will be worth more than $4 trillion – at least in the G20 economies. In order to expand beyond the G20 we need innovation in digital governance, not just in technology. This requires a multistakeholder approach.

Without technological innovation we have no hope of solving today’s problems. But the disruption it causes might not be comfortable for everyone. When new technology comes to market, there are issues about whether it’s good for society and whether it’s good for existing business models. We need to ensure innovation is not stalled simply because it affects a business model.

There is a fear that local cultures will be lost due to the global reach of the internet, and some governments are taking steps to counter this eventuality. But it’s not governments that build cultural values – it’s families, daily life and the internet. It’s possible to have global values that don’t eliminate local culture, but these are yet to be discovered.


The future of the internet economy has never been brighter. Companies like Uber and Airbnb have turned e-commerce on its head, providing new ways for consumers around the world to access goods and services. Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba’s market value was measured at an astonishing $231 billion after raising $25 billion during its initial public offering last year, the largest IPO in history.

As the business world increasingly relies on the internet to complete transactions, boost productivity and stimulate growth, questions about security and integrity are coming to the forefront, even more so after the recent rash of major data leaks and security breaches. Is it time for policy-makers to step in to ensure the internet remains a safe space for all?

The growth of e-commerce does not appear to be slowing down, so determining how to future-proof the internet is of utmost importance. From mobile applications to digital commerce to emerging technologies, the internet economy will continue to be a major force to be reckoned with. The next few years will be critical in determining how to implement sensible public policy that does not limit the ability of companies to innovate.

Author: Murray Nicol is Digital Project Lead at the World Economic Forum

Image: World Economic Forum