A recent report released by the Chinese Academy of Cyberspace Studies revealed that China’s digital economy hit a new high of $6.3 trillion (45.5 trillion yuan) in 2021. This accounts for 39.8% of the country’s GDP. The report, released during the 2022 World Internet Conference (WIC) Wuzhen Summit, held in the water-town of Wuzhen in east China’s Zhejiang Province also revealed that the digital economy has become a key factor in China’s stable economic development.
Another report titled “The World Internet Development 2022” was also released at the summit. As per this report, the total digital economy across 47 countries in the world reached $38.1 trillion in 2021. This also revealed a whopping 15.6% increase year-on-year.
The report also added that the digital economy has been a driving factor in recovering the global economy. The theme for this year’s summit was “Towards a Shared Digital Future in a Connected World — Building a Community with a Shared Future in Cyberspace”. The event was attended by more than 2,100 guests from over 120 countries and regions; online and in-person.
Also, new research conducted by RedSeer Strategic Consultants; a global digital services consultancy, revealed that MENA’s digital economy is predicted to hit a whopping $400 billion mark by 2030. As of 2021, MENA’s digital economy stands at an estimate of $91 billion.
The spike in numbers will also bring with it structural changes in the region’s digital economy with sectors like edtech and healthtec emerging as top performers. Meanwhile, other industries like online travel, food and bill payment sectors might witness a decline in their growth rates.
Furthermore, MENA’S digital economy is also likely to witness a geographical shift. Earlier, the boom in the digital economy was more due to the contribution from Saudi Arabia and the UAE. However, growth is expected to be more balanced now with all other MENA countries, especially Egypt, contributing to 50% of the region’s digital economy. The remaining 50% will come from Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
The region’s Gen Z is predicted to be more economically active this year, contributing to a 30% increase in the overall online retail spend. “Historically, growth [in MENA’s digital economy] used to be broad-based. Now it will be more focused on a few sectors,” RedSeer said. The study also said that online retail will contribute to 20% of the growth rate in the next decade, with grocery and fashion expected to grow faster. Etech and healthtech are set to witness a 10-time jump while other sectors like food, which have a high online penetration now, will see a rapid decline.
Overall, MENA’s digital adoption is improving, with the time spent, online, in these countries touching over eight hours per day, as in the UAE and KSA.