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MOST South Africans have heard about Uber, not only because of the company’s marketing tactics, but also because Uber has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. Spawning strikes, outbreaks of violence and intimidation by the traditional taxi industry, the service — hailed as a business model innovation by many a scholar — is doing what technology innovation does best: disrupt. Uber’s is described as a collaborative consumption business model, which is a derivative of the sharing economy. According to global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright, such business models are an unstoppable force that has taken root in the wake of the financial crisis. Now generating about $15bn in global annual revenue according to a recent PwC report, the so-called sharing economy has already revolutionised a number of industries and is showing no signs of slowing down. Driven by a fundamental shift from private ownership to shared usage and access, the sharing economy promises to provide potential benefi...

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