“Ecosystem” is a word that gets thrown a lot in the tech industry but there is a definition of this buzzword which is actually worth your attention. Digital ecosystems, or business ecosystems, are a model in which traditional industry boundaries are radically reordered, where sectors that once seemed disconnected fit together seamlessly and where users, their data, and businesses are part of a large co-dependent machine, according to a McKinsey analysis titled “Competing in a world of sectors without borders.” The report shows how China’s tech giants are developing this model and setting an example for global players.

The term business ecosystem was coined by James F. Moore who studied the co-evolution of social and economic systems. It is now widely adopted in tech companies but it is quietly seeping into other areas.

The model is a good reference for China’s digital landscape. Consider Alibaba—it can be defined as a retailer and a financial company. It has cloud technology, logistics, entertainment, healthcare, and even maps. It’s O2O, B2B, B2C, C2C and probably every other acronym you could think of.

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Masha Borak

Masha Borak is a technology reporter based in Beijing. Write to her at masha.borak [at] technode.com. Pitches with the word "disruptive" will be ignored. Read a good book - learn some more adjectives.