eBay’s Alan Elias with John Karr, Senior Director of Technology Programs, The Asia Foundation
Alan Elias of eBay’s Public Policy Lab appeared on a panel focused on online platforms and blockchain solutions as part of conference sponsored by The Asia Foundation and the World Bank. The theme of the conference was Rewiring for Digital Transformation. The panel on which Alan participated explored how online platforms, along with the emergence of a decentralized world powered by blockchain, is driving a global economic transformation with implications for government, civil society and the private sector. Representatives from Google, Asian Development Bank, Stripe and Hamro Patro also appeared on the panel.
Alan described the research conducted by the eBay Public Policy Lab and presented three of the main findings from the Lab’s recent Small Online Business Growth Reports:
- The online platform model for commerce has allowed enterprises—no matter what size—to extend their reach from their locality or region to an unprecedented geographical area.
- The technology-enabled platform commercial model creates growth opportunities at the firm level across regions and in countries at different levels of development.
- The economic activity of the MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) across the platform is not only reflective of a more inclusive model of commerce, but it is also resulting in MSME growth and dynamism that exceeds that found in the traditional economy.
Alan explained that this trade activity and firm growth was now possible because of a new model of trade to which the Lab refers as the Global Empowerment Network (GEN). He detailed the four elements of the GEN - (1) Connectivity to the global Internet, at low cost and without gatekeepers; (2) Global platform-based marketplaces; (3) Global payment services; and (4) Efficient, modern and connected package-level logistics and delivery services – and discussed data from five Asian markets to show its reach and impact. Alan further explained it is important for governments to recognize that a new model of trade has emerged and represents a new avenue for inclusive small business and economic growth. This is a good change and policymakers should focus on removing barriers from legacy systems and organizations that restrict the ability of Internet-enabled MSMEs from accessing global markets.