The internet was built on the assumptions that most users would be literate and speak English. This only remains true for the first half of the internet, primarily the rich world. This video by The Economist explains how the second half – places such as India – will change the internet, and how the internet will change them.

India’s internet consumption used to be quite low until 2016 when a new mobile network was launched called Reliance Jio, with insanely cheap phones and free data. India went from being a comparably expensive place to consume data, to then be the cheapest in the world.

Their data is mainly used through mobile phones – specifically the cheap ones that have a limited amount of storage. This has prompted big tech companies to change the ways their products work, and essentially reassess how they supply their services.

For India and other places that are only recently getting easy access to the internet, text is not the natural way of communicating. It’s the smaller apps that can do more, including one’s with voice notes and video rather than text interaction.

The Facebook app now has over 1.5 billion users in evolving countries because many tech giants have already managed to establish themselves in emerging markets. Creating larger user bases is one thing…making money from them is a whole new story. 99% of Facebook’s revenue comes from advertising, as does 85% from google, but due to the high number of poor citizens, they don’t have the same value to advertisers. 

If this traditional kind of advertising isn’t going to work for the poorer countries then tech companies will need to come up with new ideas too create revenue.

Originally created and published by The Economist

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