According to CNBC, Eric Schmidt, former Google CEO and former executive director of Alphabet, said in a recent senior private event in San Francisco that there would be two distinct networks in the next decade: one led by the US and the other led by China.
The event was initiated by the investment company Village Global VC and invited technology including Schmidt, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Diane Green. At the event, economist Tyler Cowen asked whether the Internet could split into different sub-internets, each with different rules and limited access. Schmidt replied:
“I think the most likely scenario now is not a splintering, but rather a bifurcation into a Chinese-led internet and a non-Chinese internet led by America.
If you look at China, and I was just there, the scale of the companies that are being built, the services being built, the wealth that is being created is phenomenal. Chinese Internet is a greater percentage of the GDP of China, which is a big number, than the same percentage of the US, which is also a big number.
If you think of China as like ‘Oh yeah, they’re good with the Internet,’ you’re missing the point. Globalization means that they get to play too. I think you’re going to see fantastic leadership in products and services from China. There’s a real danger that along with those products and services comes a different leadership regime from government, with censorship, controls, etc.
Look at the way BRI works – their Belt and Road Initiative, which involves 60-ish countries – it’s perfectly possible those countries will begin to take on the infrastructure that China has with some loss of freedom.”
In another discussion with several startup founders, Schmidt also praised China’s technology products, services and usage, especially in the mobile payment space.