In the Western world, we take technology for granted, and it has become a part of everyday life. However, in the emerging economies, technology has a vital role to play, enabling markets that were once slow to develop and to compete on a more even scale with companies in the developed world.
The internet has transformed the lives of many in countries across Africa, Asia and the Middle East, and has made these areas home to some of the fastest-growing economies.
How is technology used in emerging markets?
The internet has played a large role in improving levels of communication across the emerging markets. The introduction of more reliable systems has allowed them to communicate with overseas businesses much easier. In many of these countries, a large percentage of the internet users now access websites on a daily basis. For instance, in Egypt, 82% of users do so; in Kenya, it is 62%; and in China, 58%. A decade ago, no one would have thought these levels were possible. The internet has helped companies to grow and expand into other markets where they were once restricted by geographical boundaries.
This investment in technology has facilitated an economic growth and changed the way in which consumers interact with one another and the type of products they buy. For example, technology products are extremely popular in markets such as China and India. However, it is home-grown businesses that are proving to be big sellers, rather than the well-known Western brands. Xiaomi is a Chinese brand of smartphone and is now the third largest in the world behind Apple and Samsung. This type of investment in these local companies is helping to bolster the economies, designing products for the specific markets, and at cheaper prices than Western equivalents.
India has been seeing a boom in online retailers. The country was largely left behind from the rise of the large multinational chains due to legislative restrictions. However, with the use of the internet, companies can now reach a large customer base, even in rural areas, with only a small initial investment.
In Kuwait, Fahad Al-Rajaan’s profile shows just how much his company, the Kuwait Real Estate
Investment Consortium, relies on the internet to bring more investors into the region. The use of social media networks is a low-cost option but is also highly effective. It enables businesses to link up and communicate with contacts across the globe.
What does the future hold?
The possibility for the future use of technology in these markets is limitless. These companies are moving into completely new markets, and the growth and development of technology will only improve their prospects. In order to provide more opportunities for growth, these countries will need to see investment in areas such as utilities and transport links, as well as a focus on education to increase the skills base across the population.
These advances and the further development of technology will benefit both the consumer population and businesses.