Emerging Market Tech Companies Task on Digital Divide


Tech companies in emerging markets have been advised to confront the issue of the digital divide although some companies are already beginning to do so in innovative ways.
Chief Executive Officer and founder of technology company, APUS, Tao Li, who gave the advice obsevered that the boom of mobile internet technology has increased the speed and reach of information across the globe.
According to him, the world is witnessing the era of IoT at an even faster speed than we thought adding that they are already combining technology and innovative business approaches to diminish the gap, ensuring everyone in the world is able to access information, knowledge, services and entertainment to help improve their lives.
He said that there is a digital divide which not only leaves undeveloped regions unable to share the digital dividend brought by the internet, but also accentuates the imbalance of the global distribution of resources and increases the gap between the rich and the poor.
“Information sharing is essential to our life. Connections are the essence of the future world and making a difference in the world through technology or business model innovation is the dream of every entrepreneur”, he said.
Li explained that APUS is one of the companies around the world that is leveraging technology to help people gain access to information and diminish the digital divide stressing that APUS products are created for fresh Smartphone users who largely come from the emerging market.
He said that APUA provides the simpler operation system, long battery duration and all in one solution for users to manipulate their Smartphone devices noting that it is working on making a tailored browser and cameras to cater for the Nigeria market needs.
He stated that the emergence of the digital divide lies first in the differences in technology and equipment which is for those who can only access a 2G network or their mobile phones have limited memory.
While admitting the limit of web services experience, Li noted that technology initiators need to minimize the price of devices enabling users’ access to the internet.
“As someone who has been involved in the internet industry since 1998, not only have I witnessed the historic turning points and speed at which technology helped to change China and the rest of the world, but also have seen the unbalanced development of global internet technology. For the 3 billion people in emerging countries who do not yet have access to the internet, mobile devices will be their first gateway to internet. That means smart phones will not only reshape their work and lifestyle, but also become providers of services including social, information, entertainment, shopping, healthcare and finance”, said Li.
He said futher that the Smartphone is far more than a tool, but a connector that links people to the world, from online to offline saying that in the developed world we have been slowly experiencing the shift away from desktops and onto mobile for more than a decade.
He disclosed that in countries with fewer legacies infrastructure to replace this shift has been much more rapid such as Indonesia, the number of internet users in 2017 reached 132.7 million, an increase of 51 % from the previous year’s 881 million, of which 69 % come from mobile devices. Li who expressed confidence that the opportunity to create services which are native to mobile is much greater stated that presently, the first batch of mobile services, such as online shopping, banking, travel and e-commerce, have been launched in these emerging markets adding that there are also food distribution companies like Swiggy and Zomato, and movie ticketing platform BookMyShow emerging in India.
“We have witnessed many ways that mobile technology has empowered people in developing countries with SMS technology. The mobile industry has a huge responsibility to ensure that as the next 3 billion migrate to smart devices, we can help to further empower communities and lives. This often means coming together to deliver the infrastructure and services that people need”, he said.
Isaiah Erhiawarien, Nigeria


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