As politicians argue for internet regulations, Alibaba’s Jack Ma has words of warning
Politicians at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, have been vocal about their desire to see regulation of the technology sector. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that his country’s hosting of the 2019 G20 summit would be used to advocate for international guidelines over data use, saying: “I would like Osaka G20 to be long remembered as the summit that started worldwide data governance.”
Voices raised in agreement came from Germany (Chancellor Angela Merkel), South Africa (President Cyril Ramaphosa) and China (Vice President Wang Qishan). One prominent name who is less than thrilled by the prospect of tech regulation, however, is Jack Ma. And he makes a persuasive argument against it.
Alibaba’s share price has increased by 13% so far this year
Source: Yahoo Finance
At an event sponsored by Alibaba and the World Bank, Mr. Ma set out his arguments against regulation. Saying he was “not a person who likes regulation first,” he pointed out that we were still at “the very, very, early stages of technology” and hobbling future progress with far-reaching rules was short sighted. In a memorable metaphor, he told listeners: “We should not make a pair of shoes for a three-year-old boy and say ‘All your life, you have to wear these shoes’. We know so little about the future.”
Ma added that technology had been a positive force in the world, saying: “From my experience, I think technology has empowered the small business – the women, the disabled, the rural areas,” and claimed that fears over job losses, data security, and tech monopolies may be understandable – but are ultimately overblown.
The crux of Ma’s argument? A dire warning about the future. For if we install strict regulation now and then technological advancement stalls: “what will our kids do?”
Dominion holds Alibaba in its Global Trends Ecommerce Fund.
If you would you like to receive the Newsfeeds daily, please click here to sign up now!Help us make this Newsfeed better by rating this article. 1 star = Poor and 5 stars = Excellent
- Click here to print this story: Print
The views expressed in this article are those of the author at the date of publication and not necessarily those of Dominion Fund Management Limited. The content of this article is not intended as investment advice and will not be updated after publication. Images, video, quotations from literature and any such material which may be subject to copyright is reproduced in whole or in part in this article on the basis of Fair use as applied to news reporting and journalistic comment on events.