New World of ICT Superpowers

Dr. Dan Steinbock writes:

Today, the U.S. economy reflects relatively solid 3.6% growth. This figure is quite modest compared with China’s 10% and India’s close to 8%. China has been on this trajectory since the early 1980s and India since the early 1990s. In both cases, this level of growth is expected to continue for some decades to come. In 2004, China ranked seventh in total GDP worldwide. Recently, it leapfrogged both the UK and France. Today, it is the world’s fourth greatest economy and should catch up with Germany by 2008. India is following along the same path. It is easy to see why these two countries have risen so quickly in terms of global economic power and influence.

National innovative capacity is increasingly seen as one of the most important benchmarks in determining a country’s world-class competitiveness and level of prosperity. At first glance, this appears to put China and India in a weak position. The World Economic Forum’s most recent report on global competitiveness ranks the U.S. second (after Finland), with China (46) and India (55) far behind. A key measure of innovation, patenting, seems to confirm this. Measured by U.S. patents, America enjoys absolute superiority, with India and China following well behind. However, as in GDP, the current situation can be deceptive. There is a more forward-looking measure that contrasts annual U.S. patents per million inhabitants with the growth rate of U.S. patents. Here, the U.S. and Japan are superior in terms of absolute volume, but, measured in terms of relative growth rates, India and China are superior.

Nowhere are global opportunities as great as in the ICT sector. The explosion of mobile growth, first in China and now in India, provides a textbook example of the emerging new world of ICT superpowers.

Apple’s Business Model Advantage

WSJ (Walter Mossberg) writes:

In the post-PC era we’re in today, where the focus is on things like music players, game consoles and cellphones, the end-to-end model is the early winner. Tightly linking hardware, software and Web services propelled Apple to a huge success with its iPod. Microsoft, meanwhile, has struggled to make its component model work on these devices and, in a telling sign, is using the Apple end-to-end model itself in its Xbox game-console business. Now, Apple is working on other projects built on the same end-to-end model as the iPod: a media-playing cellphone and a home-media hub.

The jury is still out on whether the end-to-end model will prevail in the long term. Many at Microsoft, and some outside analysts as well, believe the new devices will eventually succumb to the component model, and that Apple’s success with the iPod will fade, just as its early dominance of the PC market did. Apple officials say history won’t repeat itself if the company continues to make great products and avoid the business blunders committed by its past management.