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China Poised to Take the Digital Economy Crown

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Editor’s Remarks:
China looks set to overtake the US as the world’s largest digital economy as soon as 2018, if new projections by Statista are anything to go by. The figures for revenue from the digital market, which includes all revenues generated within e-commerce, e-travel, digital media and the market for connected cars (vehicles with internet access). Though the two digital powerhouses are forecast to race neck-and-neck this year, with the US slightly ahead on $633bn to China’s $626, China is expected to pull away next year with $765 to America’s $698. The EU5 (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom), meanwhile, will trundle along with a roughly constant level of growth, expected to add around another $40bn to its revenues each year. The data shows just how important China’s internet-age revolution – driven in no small part by giants Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent and Huawei – is to its future role in the world economy. If the forecasts turn out true, China will be the world’s biggest digital economy before it becomes the world’s largest economy as a whole.

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What Is the World’s Largest App Store? It’s not Apple’s…

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App Store

With over 2.8m different apps in its app store, Google comes out ahead of Apple, which can boast just 2.2m. This result reflects the broader Android/iPhone debate that has raged for several years now. Each phone has its own legion of fans but the sheer number of apps available on Google Play is now adding another dimension to the ongoing competition. Until recently, it was widely accepted that iOS apps generated higher revenues than their Android counterparts but the tables seem to be turning. Accordingly, commentators expect that a recent spike in Android users and the concurrent increase in spending on Android apps will make them more profitable than iOS apps in 2018. Google has also introduced Instant Apps, which essentially enable users to try out apps without actually downloading them in order to save storage space, data and time. Developers are currently building Instant App versions of their software to enable users to try out their offerings merely by pressing a “Try Now” button on the Google Play store. Apple is unlikely to have overlooked this innovation and a similar feature will probably grace the App Store sometime soon.

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Crunching Numbers: Social Media by Active Users

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Social Media Users

It is not surprising that Facebook dominates this list with over 2bn active users currently across its network, 1.3bn of whom also use the company’s Messenger app. However, the notable absence of Twitter from the top 10 social media sites by active users is somewhat strange. With just 330m active monthly users, Twitter is languishing and its user base is not growing. Nevertheless, after a programme of cost-cutting and deals to supply data to corporations, the company said recently that it might be on the verge of posting its first-ever profit this quarter. Instagram’s extraordinary rise over the past few years is reflected in its active users, who now number 700m – up from just 50m in 2012 before it was acquired by Facebook. Google-owned YouTube has also performed exceptionally well with 1.5bn active users, although this number does not include people who frequent the site without having an account.

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Q3 2017 Smartphone Sales: Who’s in the Lead?

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smartphone sales

Over Q3 2017, smartphone sales reached a total of 373.1m units following an unusual sales contraction in the preceding quarter. Each of the top five smartphone makers shipped more units and all apart from Apple were able to grow their market share. As usual, South Korea’s Samsung dominated the industry with Apple lagging in its usual second place. Indeed, the gap actually widened between the two market leaders as Samsung sold 7m extra smartphones against Apple’s additional 1m compared to the same period a year ago. Elsewhere, Chinese phone makers Huawei, OPPO and Xiaomi continue to grow and eat away at smartphone market share in developing nations.

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