Internet Businesses and the Digital Divide

Here is a link to an Economist article about the prospects of internet business: http://www.economist.com/node/18680048

In the article they compare this to “the next gold rush.” However, gold is something that anyone in the world can hope to stumble upon and get rich quick. Unfortunately, internet businesses are not. Many developing countries suffering from a digital divide do not have nearly as much access to technology as the Western world is accustomed to. This completely discounts them from participating in this new “gold rush” which will continue to set them further and further behind.

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2 responses to “Internet Businesses and the Digital Divide

  • stinamurph

    I actually feel that the “gold rush” analogy is a relatively accurate one. Finding gold, even during that famed period, has never been a matter of tripping over a boulder in the middle of a path. It took tireless work, sifting through dirt and grime in order to gather enough gold dust to melt into a nugget. Gold also isn’t commonly found anywhere–as you said, access is limited and in order to do the painstaking work necessary, you have to be in the right place. I do feel that you were right in implying that the digital divide is made light of in the article. Despite the fact that, “By tapping into cheap cloud-computing capacity and by using platforms to reach millions of potential customers, a company can be up and running for thousands of dollars rather than the millions needed in the 1990s,” it is incredibly difficult for a citizen of a country with limited access to break into a market like this; the thousands may as well be millions and the potential customers might are still virtually inaccessible.

  • stinamurph

    Actually, I think this article is saying the opposite. I think it’s saying the digital divide may be diminishing as more people gain access to technology and the opportunity to create their own technology. For example, 20 years ago there were barely any major Chinese companies in the Internet business. Today we’re seeing more innovation and investment in the field from China resulting in hundreds of new Chinese Internet companies competing with their Western counterparts.

    Tasneem

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