Accustomed to interacting on and through technology, the information saturated digital lives of the people have pushed the continents at the cusp of the digital revolution. Be it scrambling after likes and tweets on Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) and WhatsApp or spending hours on online shopping, the generation is leapfrogging traditional desk bound technology and is set to haul country’s digital economy. In a survey by Internet Live Stats, an elaboration of data by International Telecommunications Union (ITU), World Bank and United Nations Populations Division, the combined total share of world internet users of India and China, two major countries in South-East Asia, alone almost surpasses the total of other top eight contributors put together making the share of these two countries in the global economy indispensable at the international stage.
Social Networking: Driving the Global Economy
Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, WeChat have become the latest modes of widespread communication among users of all age groups. The younger generation is embracing the culture of downloading new apps to stay updated with the latest happenings. With an avalanche of affordable smart phones with splendid features has led to the youngsters dancing on the tune of this mobility trend. Juxtaposing their benefits with emerging concerns of privacy, internet constitutes 3.4% of GDP in large and developed economies as per McKinskey Global Institute Report.
CHINA and INDIA: The two giants in the internet market
A research by China Internet Network Information Centre (CNNIC) stated that China ended last year with 818 million internet and 500 million mobile internet users. With an addition of 45 million internet users from 2012, and mobile internet user base increase by 80 million people, the race among the market giants to tailor their products in accordance with the needs of a new generation has led to ballooning of new startups and extensive competition in the market as vividly seen in China’s contribution to the world economy. The outwardly online shopping population has shown an exponential rise to 302 million from 59.9 million, a whopping increase of 24.7% from the previous year. Banned from accessing Facebook, the alternatives like We Chat have nonetheless filled the void for the need for social networking apps as seen with its user base of 438 million, an increase from the 396 million in the previous quarter, making it one of the toughest competitors of the industry-lead Whatsapp.
With Facebook claiming 100 million users in India, of which 84 million access through mobile phones, no wonder the burgeoning of the online industry with the backhand support of high speed mobile data which is changing fast, McKinskey’s claim of an increase in India’s contribution to GDP from 1.6% in 2012 to between 2.8% and 3.3% by 2015 does not let one bewildered at the whooping statistics.
Beneficiaries of the Exploding Internet Space:
With internet revolutionizing the lifestyle of the people, it is not only the consumers who have been affected at large. Albeit the big daddy’s have had extravagant benefits, it is the SME’s and the start-ups that have had the edge in using the space internet expanded. The online industry is not limited to e-retail, e-payments at all. The basic elements of a successful business- production, designing and marketing have seen a rise in the standards since the proliferation of the user base via internet. Only in India, the advertising market is predicted to reach Rs.3,575 crore by March, 2015 which is a 30% increase from Rs. 2,750 crore of March, 2014, according to a joint study by Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and Indian Market Research Bureau (IMRB) International.
Positive Disrupter of the 21st Century
Given the trend, internet has been tapping the crave for digitizing the things amongst the young consumers, the future of internet is expected to see a continued expansion in terms of its user base and space in the lifestyle of the people. Vying to capture a large share of global e-commerce, the social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and the widely recognized apps like Whatsapp, WeChat etc. will ensure that the internet continues to penetrate the country’s economy and build a scalable commerce play. India and China, which have turned out to be new e-frontiers in the past decade are expected to increase the current statistical data piggybacking on the massive growth of mobile usage backed by the rage in the middle class for staying ahead of time. Analysing the likes of the studies of ComScore and IAMAI, one can say it is imperative on the part of policy makers to make sure that internet continue to foster the country’s economic growth eventually contributing more to the global economy.