How Should We Understand the Digital Economy in Asia? Critical Assessment and Research Agenda

Kai lI, Dan J. Kim, Karl R. Lang, Robert J. Kauffman, Maurizio Naldi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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By Asian digital economy, we refer to high-tech developments, business and social transformations, and information-driven changes in the region’s growth. We discuss its background and foundations, significance in Asia and contribution to removal of historical barriers in traditional business. We assess how new value chains are transforming country-level involvement in worldwide manufacturing and note “smiling curve theory” predictions about the global value chain in Asia for high-tech firms and their economies. The takeaway is that the digital economy in Asian nations involves revamping business processes through technology innovation, government policies for growth, and digital entrepreneurship. We analyze the “digital economy and society index”, and attributes of nations, societies and economies, as a basis for framing our ideas. We consider research directions prompted by data analytics and AI, the platform economy, digital trade, fintech innovation, and societal and economic sustainability. We further highlight new issues in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101004
JournalElectronic Commerce Research and Applications
Issue numberNovember–December
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Published online: 9 September 2020.


  • Asian digital economy
  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • Digitalization
  • Digital trade
  • Digital transformation
  • Economic growth
  • Emerging technologies
  • Firm-level technological sophistication
  • Global value chains
  • Industrial infrastructure
  • Information and communication technologies (ICTs)
  • Information technology (IT)
  • Informatization
  • IT innovation
  • Smiling curve
  • Technological change
  • Technology impacts
  • Transaction costs
  • Value chain participation

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