Former Google CEO thinks Internet will fork, one part led by China

Posted on Monday, Sep 24 2018 @ 18:21 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
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At a private event in San Francisco organized by investment firm Village Global VC, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt predicted that the Internet will split in two. In response to a question from economist Tyler Cowen about the odds of the Internet fragmenting into different sub-internets, Schmidt replied that the most likely scenario is not a splintering, but a bifurcation. One part led by the US, and one part led by China:
"I think the most likely scenario now is not a splintering, but rather a bifurcation into a Chinese-led internet and a non-Chinese internet led by America.

If you look at China, and I was just there, the scale of the companies that are being built, the services being built, the wealth that is being created is phenomenal. Chinese Internet is a greater percentage of the GDP of China, which is a big number, than the same percentage of the US, which is also a big number.

If you think of China as like 'Oh yeah, they're good with the Internet,' you're missing the point. Globalization means that they get to play too. I think you're going to see fantastic leadership in products and services from China. There's a real danger that along with those products and services comes a different leadership regime from government, with censorship, controls, etc.

Look at the way BRI works – their Belt and Road Initiative, which involves 60-ish countries – it's perfectly possible those countries will begin to take on the infrastructure that China has with some loss of freedom."

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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