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Digital Life

Regulars | By Matthew Webster | October 2017

The future is already here - in China

If you want to guess how we’ll all be using the internet in the near future, you might think that the place to look would be among the impossibly cool technology companies that congregate in Silicon Valley (San Francisco), our own Silicon Roundabout (London) or the Cambridge Cluster (Europe’s largest such grouping). All these places attract highly educated people with large brains and a burning desire to create the next big internet thing. They garner fortunes from investors and should be on the crest of the internet wave. However, if you really want to see the future, you must look east, to China, where a consumer internet upheaval has already left us behind. To understand why, first remember that the Chinese government blocks most foreign web-based services. The Chinese can’t use Google, Facebook, Twitter, eBay and the like; so local versions have popped up to fill the vacuum, with the...

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