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ODU's Li Writes Piece in Forbes, Questioning China's Internet Boom

Old Dominion University's Shaomin Li, Eminent Scholar and professor of international business in the Strome College of Business, has co-authored an opinion piece in Forbes magazine, asking whether China's recent Internet boom is sustainable.

The piece is co-written with frequent collaborator Seung Ho Park, professor of strategy at China Europe International Business School. Titled, "Can China reach full potential of Internet technologies?" the piece details the explosive growth in the percentage of the Chinese population getting online, and the challenges of transforming that new online power into sustainable economic growth.

Li and Park suggest that China's Internet boom has had a more far-reaching effect on life in that country than the comparable U.S. Internet boom of the late 1990s.

"Hardly a day goes by without surprising news on disruptive Internet applications, large investments, and mergers and acquisitions in the sector," the authors write.

With more than one-fifth of the world's Internet users, the increasingly wired Chinese economy will grow faster as global capital seeks to leverage this expanding economy. The runaway capitalism that has sprung up is even tacitly supported by the communist Chinese government.

However, the authors note that the inherent roadblocks in China's governance environment - challenges with corruption, limits on freedom and inefficiencies - could stand in the way of that country's continued emergence as an online powerhouse.

"To sum up, if there is no progress in the governance environment; China will have an even bigger gap between the adoption and use of new Internet technologies. This, in turn, may put more pressure on the society for the transition from a relation-based to a rule-based environment so that it can reap the full benefit of Internet technologies and achieve the national goal of 'Internet plus,'" the authors write.

The full text of the op-ed can be found on the Forbes website.

Li is the Haislip-Rorrer Faculty Research Fellow and professor of management and international business at Old Dominion. He studied in China and also worked in his home country as a business executive, qualifying him to be an expert witness before the U.S. Congress on China's reform.

Li is the author of 13 books and more than 100 articles, which have appeared in Harvard Business Review, Journal of Business Ethics, Journal of International Business Studies, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and many other publications. In 2008, he received Virginia's top honor for university faculty, the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) Outstanding Faculty Award.

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