Strategy Forum / Panelist

Ivan Png

National University of Singapore


Ivan Png is a distinguished professor in the School of Business and departments of Economics and Information Systems and Analytics (by courtesy) at the National University of Singapore. Professor Png’s research focuses on the economics of innovation and productivity. He is the author of Managerial Economics, which has been published in multiple editions, and the principal investigator of a $4.75 million project, Service Productivity and Innovation Research, funded by the Social Sciences Research Council, Singapore, 2017-2022.

Voting History

Statement Response
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s proposed ban on noncompete agreements will impact innovation and entrepreneurship outside of existing technology hubs. Disagree “The effects will depend on the industry and individuals. Many of the people subject to noncompetes have less than a bachelor’s degree education. (See the 2021 article “Noncompete Agreements in the U.S. Labor Force,” by Evan Starr and coauthors, in the Journal of Law and Economics.) They are not your typical technopreneurs. Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg notwithstanding, prohibiting noncompetes among such people will have little effect on innovation and entrepreneurship.”
Digital platform companies like Uber and Netflix have lost their first-mover advantage. Disagree “Uber is a platform business that matches travelers with drivers. Drivers serve on the platform only if the number of travelers exceeds critical mass. Travelers patronize the platform only if the number of drivers exceeds critical mass. The first platform to reach critical mass dominates the market. Uber dominates in the United States and some European markets, but not in China, Russia, or Southeast Asia. Uber quit these markets, selling its business to the dominant (local) platform.

Netflix is not a platform business. There is no critical mass of content providers needing a critical mass of viewers, so first-mover advantage matters relatively less.”
The use of generative AI will restore competition in search. Disagree “Google’s huge advantage is the knowledge base that it has accumulated and continues to accumulate from the collective wisdom of users that is contributed (likely unknowingly) by clicking. Generative AI cannot replicate this information.”
Charging for user verification will lead to increased user engagement and trust on Twitter. Strongly agree “So far, Twitter has depended on advertising for almost all of its revenues. The biggest worry of advertisers is fake clicks. To the extent that registering users reduces fake posts and fake clicks, advertisers will buy more and pay more for advertisements on Twitter.”
The era of dominance for Tesla in the EV market is coming to an end. Strongly agree “Consider Singapore, a very demanding car market, in which just the license to purchase a car now costs US$80,000. In the first six months of the year, the top-selling electric brands were BYD (130 cars), BMW (50 cars), and Mercedes-Benz (22 cars). Tesla sold a mere five cars. The data speak for themselves.”
Sanctions against Russia will cause multinational companies to consider human rights protections in supply chains more broadly. Agree “Human rights are a major consideration in corporate social responsibility. My research shows that businesses may vertically integrate to take better control over social performance in the supply chain.”
Blockchain is more likely to be a sustaining innovation than a disruptive innovation in the financial sector. Strongly disagree “Blockchain technology is self-limiting by design. Network effects on the demand side encourage adoption: the more using the technology, the greater the benefit to new users. However, the technology is subject to inherent diminishing returns to scale. When a new object is added, it must store all the previous objects in the chain. Hence, the storage cost increases exponentially.”
When hackers take data hostage, companies should pay the ransom. Strongly disagree “Data hacks present a collective action problem. Each individual victim would rather pay up and recover their data. But each ransom feeds the hackers and aggravates the problem for all. This is quite similar to the problem of Somalian piracy some years ago. Victims must cease paying ransoms, and governments should collectively act to cripple the hackers.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has permanently changed how companies should think about business strategy. Strongly agree “The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the fragility of cross-border supply chains. Previous natural disasters such as the Kobe and Fukushima earthquakes and the Thailand floods of 2011 affected particular industries. By contrast, the COVID-19 pandemic cut off supplies across all industries. All businesses (not only manufacturers) must rethink their just-in-time strategies.”