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Sustainability Assignment: OccurrenceOf Network & Lock-in Effects MechanismIn China & Hong Kong


Task: Pick up an example of network and lock-ineffects in a field related to sustainability and prepare a well-researched sustainability assignment explaining the mechanism of how they can occur in Hong Kong and China.
Discuss what problems they create and what kind of policy measures can be introduced to deal with the problems in a report of 2-3 pages.
Reference material to be used in this assignment:
David, Paul A., “Clio and the Economics of QWERTY,” American Economic Review, 75(2), 332-37 (1985).


The report on sustainability assignment discussed an example of network and lock-in effects in the field related to sustainability. It also explained the way the entire mechanism of “network and lock-in effects” in the field of sustainability can occur in China and Hong Kong. It also discussed the problems they create and the kind of policy measures that can be introduced by Hong Kong and China introduced to deal with the problem.

Network and Lock-in effects in the field related to sustainability:
Network effects mean increasing the value of the product and service with the increasing value of the total number of customers for the particular service or product. The invention of the QWERTY Keyword was referred to as “The Universal”. The increasing rate of using touch typing, a distinct advance and increasing use of the “Four finger hunt and peck” method came in the tome of the 1880s. The innovation of the QWERTY Keyboard supported the advent of “touch” typing and the four-finger hunt and peck method. The rising use of the touch-typing method gave rise to the three most significant features of the entire evolving production system that is crucially important for the QWERTY Keyboard (David, 1985). It helps in causing the “QWERTY Keyboard” to become a “Locked in” as the most dominant keyboard arrangement. It includes three features that were economies of scale, technical interrelatedness and quasi-irreversibility of the particular investment (David, 1985). The feature of technical interrelatedness, the appropriate arrangement of the system compatibility between the keyboard “software” and “hardware” and the appropriate arrangement of the keys for supporting the memory of the touch typist makes the “QWERTY” Keyboard system an innovative and sustainable keyboard for the business world. The overall cost of the “QWERTY” Keyboard is relatively lower than the cost of the typewriting system. It increases the acceptance of the “QWERTY” Keyboard system relative to other systems. Condition of decreasing cost and system scale economies features of “QWERTY Keyboard” increases return in the view of Arthur’s model of the dynamics of technological competition (David, 1985). It increases the network effects of the “QWERTY Keyboard” system in a forward-looking way.

China and Hong Kong can provide typing training to the heterogeneous population of China and Hong Kong to provide the appropriate knowledge regarding keyboard style and sequence of the keys in the “QWERTY” keyboard system. The main feature of the “QWERTY” Keyboard is, it reduces the tendency of clash and jam of typebars like a typewriter. It reduces the issue of typebar stuck at or near the printing point that hammered the same impression of the letter on the page (David, 1985). The use of the “QWERTY” Keyword reduces the frequency of typebar clashes. It can be beneficial for the China and Hong Kong people to draw adventurous economists and profitable systems for typist and the business world.

Discussion of problems while implementing “QWERTY” Keyboard in Hong Kong and China:
In China and Hong Kong, the majority number of typists uses the method of “QWERTY” Keyboard in an entirely different way than the western typists actually do. In China, the mechanism of the “QWERTY” Keyboard can occur in a “Smarter” way. In Chinese, the way to write the character is totally different from the pronunciation of the particular character. In some cases, the Chinese character is a combination of two to three characters (How the QWERTY Keyboard Broke the Chinese Language. 2020). Letters and characters in the Chinese language work differently. The style of the QWERTY Keyboard is causing Chinese people to forget the way people write Chinese.

Policies to deal with the problems:
In the 1990s, China Government figured out an effective way to fit their Chinese Character-based writing system into the system of QWERTY Keyboard system. The main purpose of the country was to help the country to gain the power of the modern world. In the 1950s, Zhou Youguang invented the “pinyin” method. It uses the Roman alphabet to phonetically spell out the characters of the Chinese Language. Leaning into the use of the “Pinyin” method has been the most effective key driver in the modernization of China and economic rise (Adal, 2017). Moreover, the invention of the Chinese Computer IME enables Chinese people to access the entire word, characters and most commonly used sentences by pressing one key. In China, clicking a letter or key basically initiates an algorithm based on the phonetic sound of the letter or root shape. Chinese people basically use the predictive text approach where the generated algorithm guesses the word and character that the typist wants (Davies, 2019). Moreover, organising training regarding the mechanism of “QWERTY” Keyboard typing styles can also deal with the above-identified problem.

It concluded that appropriate training sessions and knowledge regarding the use of the “QWERTY” keyboard and the use of the “Pinyin” method would help the Chinese people to easily write the Chinese character using the QWERTY Keyboard. The use of Chinese Computer IME and use of “Pinyin” method plays a key driver in the modernization of china and increase the speed of the Chinese typist in this modern world.

Adal, R. (2017). History of technology: How China sidestepped QWERTY. Nature, 549(7671), 158-159.
David, P. A. (1985). Clio and the Economics of QWERTY. The American economic review, 75(2), 332-337.
Davies, G. (2019). The Chinese Typewriter: A History. Studies of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University.
Sustainability assignment By Thomas S. Mullaney. Pacific Affairs, 92(1), 115-118. Pjb2JoeZm5vVEcPWPHBC6VAAYsJUrNrDbzsTLCVENwVK8QtDr9cU7gKMzI

How the QWERTY Keyboard Broke the Chinese Language. (2020). [Image]. Retrieved 8 October 2021, from


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