Asia Pacific Blog
Google and the Internet from .in to .au
The Big Tent Extravaganza!
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
has been on a big tour, bringing our brand of open debate about the Internet and society to Bangkok, Singapore and Sydney for the first time and returning to Seoul to examine culture, creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship. Across some of Asia Pacific’s most exciting markets one thing above all became clear - people across the region are hungry to harness the web to grow their economies, enrich their lives and export the best their countries have to offer around the world.
We started in Singapore where the discussion focused on "Enabling a Culture of Innovation" – focused on starting a debate on what Singapore needs to become the hub of Asian innovation in a digital age. In a country with some of the best Internet infrastructure in the world, participants debated how Singaporeans can turn their networked society into an entrepreneurial one. The event featured lightning round speakers from local startup
, social entrepreneurship consultancy
and online news commentator
The Breakfast Network
, who shared their experience of innovating in Singapore and the challenges they faced.
Panelists at Singapore Big Tent
From Singapore we moved to Seoul where the burning question was how can Korea turn the success of
and K-Pop into a sustainable cultural export industry. The Deputy Minister of Culture, Mr Hyun-jae Cho stressed the importance of open platforms and the need for Korea’s vibrant culture whether it’s drama, music, kpop, etc to spread globally; and Eric Schmidt, Google’s Chairman, encouraged Koreans to focus on what they do best - creating content people want - and do more and more of it. He also stressed the need to educate more software engineers who can develop products that can scale globally and shared his thoughts on what the most important thing about the Internet is: “to learn how to turn your phone off during dinner.” An important lesson for all of us!
Panelists speaking at the Seoul Big Tent
We then travelled South to sunny Sydney to discuss culture and content in the new digital age. The event brought together 150 leading figures from the creative arts, technology, business, media and government under one roof to engage in a high-energy discussion about the impact of the web on artists and content creators in Australia.
Christiaan Van Vuuren, Director, Bondi Hipster and Online Creator
, two of Australia’s most exciting Google+ and YouTube sensations, took to the stage to perform new songs. But perhaps one of the more interesting contributions of the day came from Kim Williams, Former CEO of News Limited and Foxtel, who argued that “The net has no respect for the establishment in and of itself – it is a furiously strong levelling agent. New paradigms in all things are becoming commonplace. Nothing and no one is safe. Merit and performance increasingly rule the day.”
To wrap up this busy tour, Big Tent travelled to Bangkok where some of Thailand’s foremost Internet entrepreneurs, content creators and thought leaders gathered to ask the question, why not Thailand? Speakers discussed what’s holding Thailand back relative to its ASEAN neighbours and concluded that Thais need to get serious about investing in the Internet (and national infrastructure) and recognize the economic impact an open web will have on their economy, culture and creative potential. Eric Schmidt discussed Thailand’s future in a digital age, stressing the need for a mobile revolution as crucial for long-term development. He also argued that the solution to bad content is not censorship, but embracing more speech, good content and entering a debate of ideas.
Google Chairman, Eric Schmidt, and a Thai puppet in Bangkok
As we said in our
introduction blog post
, Asia Pacific is increasingly central to the growth and development of the Internet. The Big Tent Extravaganza celebrates this.
’Til next year!
Posted by Jon Steinberg from the External Relations team
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