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CEOs get the Web bug
January 27, 2000: 10:30 a.m. ET

Bosses get online, but fear a widening gap between rich and poor
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DAVOS, Switzerland (CNNfn) - Company bosses have got the Internet bug in a serious way, a survey of 1,000 chief executives revealed Thursday, although they worry that new technology may widen the divide between the world's haves and the have-nots.
    The third annual PriceWaterhouseCoopers survey of leading company chiefs from around the world revealed that the Internet is the overriding concern for many business leaders.
    "The pervasive impact of e-commerce dominates the discussion," according to DuPont (DD) chairman and chief executive Charles Holliday Jr., leading a discussion of the survey, which was unveiled at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
    Holliday conceded that several years ago the Internet "would have been one of several topics," exercising the minds of CEOs, while now it is the "dominant" issue.
    The shift to e-commerce is being accompanied by a significant improvement in the computing capabilities of business bosses: they are rapidly becoming clued in as to how to get the most from their PCs. The PWC survey indicated that 42 percent of CEOs polled had personally completed an online purchase in the past year.
The rich get richer and the poor...

    But in a poll of the business leaders 50 percent felt the online medium will exacerbate the gap between developing and developed nations. Yet 38 percent maintained that the Internet would help narrow the gap.
    Despite a possible crevasse between rich and poor, the CEOs polled were even excited about the coming year ahead, than they had been at the same stage last year. An overwhelming 91 percent are optimistic about growth prospects, up from the 83 percent in the 1999 survey.
    Despite the pickup in Asian economies over the past year, the region still lags the rest of the world in its anticipation for the 12 months ahead. Only 84 percent of Asian CEOs were optimistic, against 97 percent from U.S. corporations. Back to top


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World Economic Forum

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