America’s Internet Has China Envy – The New York Times

America’s Internet Has China Envy – The New York Times

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One of the big questions about the future of the internet is whether the world’s digital habits will eventually look like China’s.

For some time, fresh digital trends — both dystopian and useful ones — have gotten started and become big in China. The country was one of the first places where digital payments and loans on smartphones transformed finance, online video streamers became superstars, food delivery apps swept cities, and online misinformation eroded people’s faith in facts.

In the United States and some other countries, technology watchers have tried to borrow from some of China’s internet habits in the belief that they’re a preview of the future everywhere.

The nagging question, though, is whether borrowing from China’s digital world can work. Is China a peek at the future of technology, or a digital island all its own?

Around the world, there are echoes of Chinese internet trends. Ideas that originated in China inspired virtual tip jars in Twitch and YouTube to compensate live streamers, the person-to-person payments in iMessage and Square’s Cash App, and Source…

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