LIRNEasia is a regional ICT policy and regulation think tank active across the Asia Pacific

Category Archives: platforms

Platforms and international trade

Most people think platforms and transformative ICT companies are best described by the acronym GAFA. Some add Microsoft to make it five. But living in Asia, we know better. There’s Baidu, Alibaba and TenCent. Alibaba has become one of the most highly valued technology companies in the world, and its recent string of strong financial […]

Thinking of digital platforms and digital labor across the globe

It seems everyone is talking about digital platforms and digital labor.  This is not surprising, given the amount of news Uber alone is creating in many countries, including the ones LIRNEasia works in.  Everyone is worried about the impacts on labor and working conditions, while some are optimistic about the welfare effects created, especially for […]

Myanmar online freelancing platform Chate Sat

I have been asked several times about the feasibility of national online freelancing platforms. There are a few in Sri Lanka. According to this report, it appears that a platform has emerged in Myanmar too. First prize goes to Honey Mya Win. She founded her startup with her programmer sister less than a year ago […]

Government should consult with those who know, before making ecommerce policies

The ill-considered proposal in the 2017 Budget to compel all e commerce transactions to be conducted over a yet-to-be-designed government platform has come up for discussion again. Lahiru Pathmalal, CEO of Takas, one of the Sri Lanka’s more visible e-commerce businesses had this to say to the Sunday Times: “What is ideal is a tax […]

The new regulation? Courtesy of Facebook

Facebook has published a 13-page “white paper” on the ways by which its platform has been, and continues to be, used for information operations by various actors including state actors. The document presents certain remedial actions being taken by Facebook, most relying on anomaly detection techniques from data analytics and natural language processing. Providing a […]

The platform economy and the role of insurance

Our work on online freelancing also served as a probe on the emerging platform economy. Contrary to many concerns in the developed market economies, we found that almost all those participating in online freelancing were staying with their parents and doing the work part time. Concerns with variable income, uncertainty and difficulty in establishing credit […]

“Simbi” online platform promoting “Symbiotic Economy”

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A symbiotic relationship occurs when two individuals or group of people work together by helping one another with the intent of obtaining help in return. Simbi – an emerging crowd working platform has termed “Symbiotic Economy”, as an exchange of skills and services without spending cash.   Unlike other platforms, the cash earned cannot be […]

LIRNEasia estimates 17,000-22,000 online freelancers in Sri Lanka

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Estimating the number of online freelancers is a tough task. Freelancer platforms such as Fiverr, Freelancer and Upwork do not share this number by country. Particularly for a small country like Sri Lanka tracing the number of freelancers is very difficult. We wanted to study the extent to which online freelancing /microwork can lead to […]

Power cuts handicap online freelancing

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“The power cuts in Sri Lanka are unannounced. It’s really difficult when we have power cuts. The customers don’t believe us when we say that we can’t deliver work on time because we have power cuts. These are people who have never experienced power cuts in their entire life” this is what Sandun, a 25 year old […]

LIRNEasia contributes to discussion on platforms and taxes

Based on work done on electronic trading in ASEAN and extrapolation from the online freelancing research, I contributed some thoughts on budget proposals to create a government-run platform to collect taxes. That has been picked up in subsequent articles. In the face of government highhandedness, global e-commerce giants have in the past opted not to […]

Learnings from research on online freelancing disseminated on both sides of the world

Helani Galpaya with Vint Cerf

It’s just over two days since we presented the findings of the online freelancing work to the media, government and the private sector in Colombo. And on the other side of the world, in Guadalajara, Mexico, Helani Galpaya reports: One of my 3 panels today at the UN IGF in Mexico. This one on “The […]

Are platforms “information society services” or just another way of providing transport, commerce, etc.?

I recall telling the story of the US court that required a man with a light (and maybe a bell) to walk ahead of new-fangled motor cars to Sri Lanka’s Solicitor General. Was it apocryphal or true? But it worked. I prevented him from giving me a ruling that would have basically killed satellite-based personal […]

Sri Lanka Finance Minister moves to stifle e commerce innovation

According to the Daily Mirror, the Finance Minister has said ““They (e-commerce operators) are just operating here. Where is the regulation for that? We will make them bring money earned here back to the country.” He appears to be responding to non-e commerce businesses who are complaining as below. Meanwhile during the 9th Ease of […]

Platforms and how they play out in particular places

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In theory, surge pricing is a no-brainer. If prices go up when demand surges at particular times, surge pricing will bring additional supply to the market. While not supporting what appears on the face to be an economically illiterate decision by an Indian court to ban surge pricing the authors of the Economic Times op-ed […]

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