#92 Global data governance paradigms and super powers

So far we have discussed data economy mostly in corporate level or in some cases market segment level. Let's have a look at the game in global level.


According to the UN Conference on Trade and Development 2021 three leading players – the United States, China, and the European Union (EU) are. But even the giants are not equal as we will see later in the article.


Besides being the giants, they all have a different take on data governance in the big picture. In essence, the US approach focuses on control of data by the private sector, the Chinese model emphasizes control of data by government, while the EU favors control of data by individuals, based on fundamental rights and values.


Data governance of 2,1 Billion people


Let's have a look at the numbers. China has a population of 1.402 billion, the US population is 329.5 million and the EU includes about 445 million people. In total, we are speaking of data governance paradigms that cover over 2,1 billion people. Of course, the power or state is different in the US and in China. let alone in the EU which is a political and economical union of countries.


In the European Union, the value of the data market-the aggregate revenue of all firms in the data economy-reached 65 billion euros in 2017, representing only 0.49 per cent of GDP and employing1 6.7 million people. In the United States the data economy is 1 per cent of GDP, respectively. But don't be fooled with this single indicator.


Extended influence via services created by companies

The influence of these economies is even greater since all of them have a lot of successful IT companies whose services are used by probably another 2 billion people. The services have their own terms and conditions, but those are subject to the fundamental principles and legislation in the economic areas. An example of such legislation is the European GDPR.


Data is the fuel of the new economy, and even more so of the economy to come. In declaring back in 2017 that the world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data, The Economist said:

“Whether you are going for a run, watching TV or even just sitting in traffic, virtually every activity creates a digital trace — more raw material for the data distilleries.”

The real market size and economic influence of the data economy


Twenty-five of the largest technology firms, mostly data firms, had a combined market valua- tion of nearly $6 trillion in 2016, representing nearly 20 per cent of market capitalization in the United States. The five largest firms in the world-Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google and Microsoft-are actors in the data economy with a combined market value of nearly $4 trillion in 2018.


(source: Harvard Business Review)


Facts about The US and China

  1. account for 50 per cent of the world’s hyper-scale data centres,

  2. the world’s highest rates of 5G adoption,

  3. 70 percent of the world’s top artificial intelligence (AI) researchers, and

  4. 94 percent of all funding for AI startups.


Fair data economy

Europe's chances are hidden in the personal data but can it convert this unique approach to commercial success? Companies that build capabilities to handle permissions as easily for industrial data usage as for personal data, will have a strong hold on data economy's untapped potential. Yet already now the legislation and other legal frameworks are hindering the growth of data economy and Europe is far from being united. In the EU level, there is cohesion, but national laws bring more challenges to any company operating in the whole continent.


In the past, Europe lost the game in the platform economy and resulting to the same level with Africa. The same happened now with AI economy - China and US rule there. Is the data economy eventually going to follow the pattern?

Europe's only chance is to be the fortress of mydata rights and show the world how fair data economy can operate. Is it lucrative, is another question.