Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey

The digital economy has brought about a new revolution

06.10.2015 / İstanbul

B20 Turkey and TOBB President M. Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu stated that digital economy has brought about a new revolution and those who act first will be the ones to benefit from it.​

Organized by B20 Turkey and Accenture, the B20 Turkey Digital Economy Forum was held in İstanbul with the attendances of B20 Turkey and TOBB President M. Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu, Transportation, Maritime Affairs and Communications Minister Feridun Bilgin, TÜSİAD Chair Cansen Başaran-Symes, TİM Chair Mehmet Büyükekşi as well as the prominent organizations of the sector.

Speaking at the opening of the Forum, TOBB President Hisarcıklıoğlu stated that they would lay digital economy on the table, previously discussed under B20.

Stating that a business life without the internet has become unthinkable, Hisarcıklıoğlu said, “In the future, it is projected that internet economy in just the G20 countries will annually increase by an average of 8%. If internet economy were a state economy it would be the fifth in the world. It would have a growth rate higher than that of China. If the internet were to be considered as a separate sector, it would exceed the weight of agriculture and services sectors in the global GDP. Ten years ago, approximately 1 billion people were internet users. Today, the number has reached 3 billion. In less than 5 years, this number will reach 4 billion.”

Drawing attention to the fact that more than half the global population has no access to the internet Hisarcıklıoğlu said, “This figure equates to 4.2 billion people. Internet access in Africa is only 13%. Developing countries, which are the focus of G20’s current term, are expected to have less than 10% access across the board by the end of this year.”

- “The most dangerous precipice exists for SMEs”

Emphasizing that doing business on the internet requires new skills, the TOBB President said that the internet, while bringing new opportunities, also forms new precipices and that the most dangerous precipice exists for SMEs.

Hisarcıklıoğlu stated that growth for SMEs is built on investments aimed at innovation and this is possible through the effective use of digital technologies – that the SMEs which are unable to make effective use of these technologies will be left behind.

Stating that restructuring is underway for not just SMEs but the whole industry sector, Hisarcıklıoğlu said, “The world is undergoing a new industrial revolution. Germany is calling in Industry 4.0 while the US prefers the Second Machine Age, or, as we are using it today: the Third Wave, the Third Industrial Revolution. Whatever we choose to call it, we are living in a time in which industry will be reshaped information and communication technologies.

The first Industrial Revolution began with harnessing steam power. The second Industrial Revolution took place with transitioning to mass production under the auspices of Henry Ford. The third wave is brought on by the developments in information and communication technologies.

Replacing human workers in factories with robots, communication between machines and the widespread use of 3D printing technology as well as planning production processes with information technologies has changed the rules of competition. Countries which were late to the transitions of the first and second Industrial Revolutions must catch up to this new age in order to prosper. Otherwise, the gap between developing and developed countries will not only not be diminished, it will grow.”

Stating that digital economy has brought about a new revolution, Hisarcıklıoğlu said that those who act fast will be the ones to profit from this process.

Hisarcıklıoğlu stated that no revolution is without pain and that this new great change should not be expected to occur without any issues.

- Personal data security

Stating that foremost among these problems is the matter of personal data security, TOBB President Hisarcıklıoğlu said, “Data is just as important as money in the digital economy. They say, ‘Speak as much as the money you have.’ ‘Speak as much as the data you have,’ has become a more apt saying. Just as the economy will not function if we don’t trust the money we use, there can be no digital economy without security in regards to the use of data. In trying to secure personal data, rules regarding the protection of personal data should not limit innovation.

To this end, the business world and governments need to work together. It is, of course, the responsibility of the government to prepare and enforce legislation. As the business world, we are prepared to do our part. We are aware that the development of digital economy in the world will be made possible through the establishment of an environment of mutual trust in regards to personal data.”

Addressing Minister Bilgin, Hisarcıklıoğlu stated that they are awaiting passing of the Bill Regarding the Protection of Personal Data, Hisarcıklıoğlu stressed that a law which conforms to global standards would also lower costs for Turkish companies in their international dealings.

- Suggestions regarding digital economy

Reporting that the efforts of the B20 Task Forces throughout the year in regards to digital economy have culminated under the efforts of the B20 Task Forces throughout the year in regards to digital economy have culminated under 6 articles, Hisarcıklıoğlu stated that the report which includes these suggestions has been compiled with suggestions brought forth by B20 Task Forces and will form the framework for future work.

Hisarcıklıoğlu stated that they expect even more focus on digital economy during China’s Term Presidency of the B20 and listed the suggestions regarding digital economy:

“First, we expect that limitations on the transfer of data will be avoided in order to facilitate worldwide and make legislation regarding personal data compliant. We expect that the emergence of new business models will not be prevented by limitations. The second suggestion is the improvement of the global trade system for the digital economy. Solutions are necessary for customs problems faced by SMEs which participate in e-commerce and other commercial activities. Thirdly, the development of companies’ access to digital economy is very important for us. To this end, as the B20, we suggest that the G20 includes broadband network connections for every in their G20 5 Year Growth Plan.”

Hisarcıklıoğlu stated that their fourth suggestion is ‘ensuring that human capital is rendered compliant with the developing digital economy,’ and emphasized the necessity of developing the science, technology, engineering and mathematical skills of younger generations with regards to digital economy.

Stating that the fifth suggestions is in regards to accessing finance for the digital economy, Hisarcıklıoğlu said, “In recent years, new financing resources have surfaced such as the mass funding of SMEs with digital technologies and person to person credit options. Our expectation of G20 governments is the creation of alternative financing resources and support via growth, regulation and policy compliance.

Our last suggestion is one which will make everyone’s lives much more easier, the digitization of government business. It is greatly significant that processes ranging from the digitization of public tenders to customs procedures. We have begun to put into practice various examples of these. Prominent among these is the e-government initiative. We hope that government procedures become more effectively digitized and the lives of citizens are facilitated in our country and the world as a whole.”

- Expectations of the business world in regards to internet legislation

Hisarcıklıoğlu complained that G20’s relations with digital economy have been very limited so far while G7 is very active in this matter; stressing the need for G20 to catch up to G7.

Stating that the internet has opened the way for entrepreneurship, Hisarcıklıoğlu pointed to the importance of public and private sector, civil society and end users to work together in the governance of the internet.

Hisarcıklıoğlu listed the business world’s expectations with regards to the rules which would govern the internet: “The rules should not limit the internet but take on the role of a pathfinder; must be simple and flexible enough to catch up to technology; formed with input from the private sector; should not be impositions for the end user but instead a wide framework; should be consistent between governments.”

- TÜSİAD Chair Symes

TÜSİAD Board Chair Cansen Başaran-Symes also emphasized the need for digital economy to spread throughout Turkish business life with all due haste.

Stating that scientific and technological innovations have increased in value Symes stated that skills regarding technology are also gaining value.

Symes drew attention to the importance of well-educated personnel who have embraced technology  for the integration of technology in business life.

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