Tech Report Says to Get an Alibaba or EBay Business Before Your Old Jobs Are Destroyed

An Alibaba backed open research think tank (the Luohan Academy) has published a 22-page report which says that AI, mobile internet, e-commerce are not destroying more jobs than they create.

Nextbigfuture summarizes the report as there are lots of jobs and businesses being created by the Alibaba, Ebay, Googles and Ubers of the world. People who lose jobs at Sears or other dinosaur companies should shift to get some piece of the new e-commerce economy before the old jobs are gone. The report does not discuss what happens in the next wave of automation like when self-driving cars wipe out the Uber jobs.

Implicit advice is adapt and sell and hook up with the high-growth winners. Adapt and use the latest e-commerce and mobile payments. It is also saying to leverage blockchain and cryptocurrency and to use AI tools and services provided by others.

They are also saying that most of the traditional higher education is not providing much of an advantage in the new digital world.

Report Highlights

This report identifies where digital technologies have made create more jobs in China, and offers some insights on how to apply the lessons learned in China to other markets. Some key findings include:

* Lowering the skill threshold: In order to promote digital penetration, lowering the skill threshold needed to use technology is as important as raising the level of technological expertise. For example, in rural Taobao villages in China, e-tailer households that participate in e-commerce earn more than double the income of non-e-tailer households at every education level because the skills can be learned on the job; no formal education required.
* Leveraging digital platforms: Digital platforms represent a new form of exchange and coordination to create an ecosystem for inclusive growth. It is a free-spinning wheel that connects numerous consumers and producers, and facilities interactions with very low cost, high efficiency, and reliability.
* Forming effective public-private partnerships: It is more important than ever for the public sector to create a benign macro environment for the private sector to grow and make necessary investments for the population to access digital technology.
* Managing unanticipated effects: In the digital age, there have been concerns about real and complex issues such as technological unemployment, abuse of private information, lagging competition policy, and increased inequality. The first step to address these challenges is to separate facts from speculation and anxiety. The evidence in China shows that the benefits of new market access and opportunities are more pronounced in less developed countries.

Luohan Academy is an open research institute initiated by Alibaba Group Holding Limited (BABA). The Digital Technology and Inclusive Growth Report was presented at the 2019 World Economic Forum in Davos.

Open e-commerce platforms (Alibaba, EBay, Google, Youtube and others) have spawned digitally enabled ecosystems that have helped produce vast numbers of new businesses, many small and medium-sized, which have been able to thrive by accessing much larger potential markets than the gravity model for trade in the physical world would imply.

The platform centered and designed ecosystems have low entry barriers for several reasons. Among these are that both capital requirements and digital skill requirements are low. This is no accident, the platforms being structured precisely so as to minimize skill requirements. This is consistent with experience in other developing countries where mobile payments and banking services have developed. Another reason is that over time the digital ecosystem has developed a host of complementary resources that reduce the complexity of the process of creating and scaling a new business or of testing a new business idea or model. This again is by design. Taobao, the main e-commerce platform, has built private and public sector training programs to support entrepreneurs and public officials who need to work with the private sector.

E-commerce has also benefited people with disabilities. In 2016, 160,000 online stores on Taobao were operated by people with disabilities, creating RMB 12.4 billion in sales. More than 90 percent of the sales came from such sellers with no more than a high school education. With technical support, 16,000 visually impaired people opened their own online stores on Taobao in 2016.

Nextbigfuture notes that Amazon and Alibaba are using a lot of robotics, automation and drones and competing with online sales and physical stores. The internet retailers are putting many older retailers out of business and displacing those jobs.

The Luohan Academy report is saying that when you lose your job at Sears or with another retailer you should have an Alibaba, E-Bay or other side gig developed to the point that you can replace your old job.