Date
12 December 2017
Kodak's downfall can be attributed to its underestimation of the disruption caused by new technology. Photo: Reuters
Kodak's downfall can be attributed to its underestimation of the disruption caused by new technology. Photo: Reuters

HK should learn from Kodak’s downfall

China’s economic development has hit an unprecedented high over the last two decades while Hong Kong has been unable to make any big progress.

In technology, the mainland is now at the forefront of mobile payment, offering services like Alipay and WeChat Pay.

In Hong Kong, many consumers still refuse to use mobile payment tools on account of security concerns.

Yet mobile payment has been quite popular not just in China but in many other developed economies such as Britain, Australia, Singapore and the eurozone over last five to six years. Sweden has even drafted a law to step up efforts toward a cashless society.

Hong Kong is lagging behind even some developing nations like India in adopting mobile payment technology.

Mobile payment is part of the essential infrastructure in this era of digital economy as it is connected to our daily lives.

It not only helps reduce crime but also builds a platform to connect us to other parts of the world.

If Hong Kong becomes the clearing center of global e-payments, we will benefit from gaining access to massive transaction and related data. That could pave the way for our economy to take off once again.

But if our government officials and ordinary Hongkongers fail to adapt to the digital economy, at a time when new technologies like blockchain and artificial intelligence are poised to disrupt traditional industries in an overwhelming way, we are going to fall further behind.

Hong Kong has already lost first-mover advantage in many tech sectors, and so we must think hard about how we can boost our tech infrastructure.

We should draw a lesson from the collapse of the once-dominant photographic company Kodak. The company was a dominant player in its field in the 1990s, but it underestimated the disruption from new technology. As a result, Kodak gradually lost its luster, and its market, in five to six years.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Nov 30

Translation by Julie Zhu

[Chinese version 中文版]

– Contact us at [email protected]

RT/CG

Chairman of FinTech Committee, Smart City Consortium

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