Coping with Disruption: Dimensions of Digitalisation in Europe and Asia

Workshop on EU-China Relations in Global Politics

Digitalisation brings opportunities and challenges to every sphere of our daily lives. Are Europe and Asia on the right track to cope with this latest technological trend? A two-day workshop held by KAS RECAP and UACES will gather young professionals from different sectors to examine its political, economic, social and cultural implications.


Digitalisation of Energy and Resource Systems

The process of digitalisation encompasses almost every aspect of our modern society. Digitalisation presents Europe and Asia with a variety of challenges and opportunities that need careful consideration and sophisticated governance. Leveraging innovation to harness better economic returns paired with more sustainable management of the world’s resources is of utmost importance in an age of rapid climate change. Digitalisation and data-driven insights can help address the plethora of those challenges.

Digital Governance & Smart City Management

Digital governance and smart city management promise better services to urban citizens. The European Union (EU) provides financing in the Horizon 2020 framework to identify smart cities and communities that pilot innovative solutions. The GrowSmarter initiative, for example, showcases low energy districts, integrated infrastructures, and sustainable urban mobility in Stockholm, Cologne and Barcelona. In China, Alibaba’s Cloud services suggest a City Brain solution helps manage Hangzhou’s traffic increasing average travel speed by up to 15% and shortening the emergency vehicle response time by 50%. In Songdo, South Korea is experimenting with integrated waste management systems on the scale of an entire city.

Digitalisation of Financial Markets and Investment

Traditional financial institutions experience difficulties in adapting their services to this rapid change, while innovative business models of FinTech start-ups such as N26 or Wirecard capture market share by reducing costs and offering more convenient services. Tech giants such as Tencent seek to internationalise their mPayments solutions and start offering banking services in their home market. At the same time crypto-currencies, blockchain technology, and distributed ledgers promise higher security and more efficient capital allocation potentially revolutionising insurance models as well.

Digital Manufacturing Strategies and the Internet of Things

In terms of manufacturing, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT) will lead big data and automation around the globe. According to PwC, the compounded investment in IIoT will amount to 6 trillion USD compounded over the years 2015 to 2020. Germany’s Industry 4.0, Made in China 2025 and the US’ Advanced Manufacturing Partnership are competing for the prime spot. According to The Economist and the International Federation of Robotics, only 0,7% of industrial workers are robots. Fundamental shifts in manufacturing automation are on the horizon. The automotive sector and the electronics industry are leading the charge of total annual robot sales with 38% and 25% respectively, but other sectors, such as construction, hold promising perspectives as well.

What are the geopolitical and geo-economic implications of the rapid digitalisation in Europe and Asia?

What are the efficiency gains in energy infrastructures, green transformation and sustainable resource management?

How can data-driven insights be translated into better governance and management?

How can digitalisation facilitate connectivity in Eurasia?

How will financial institutions wither the digitalisation and what are the implications for cybersecurity, data protection and intellectual property rights in Europe and Asia?

What are the preconditions for businesses and civil society to harness the power of data while striving for a more sustainable and human-centred future?

The event takes place in the framework of the UACES Collaborative Research Network on EU-China Relations (ESSCA School of Management at Angers / College of Europe at Bruges / Technical University Munich*). The event is supported by Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, Regional Project Energy Security and Climate Change Asia-Pacific (RECAP), based in Hong Kong SAR.

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  • Dr Frauke AUSTERMANN
    • ESSCA EU*Asia Institute
  • Dr Peter HEFELE
    • Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung
  • Prof. Dr MEN Jing
    • College of Europe
  • Prof. Dr SHEN Wei
    • Deakin University