MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA – Mobile phone and handset manufacturers are making the developing world their next target for growth. The giants of the mobile phone industry have long since saturated the Western world, and now are looking to emerging markets in developing countries that could potentially provide their next 1 billion users.These companies are now putting out low cost phones with apps that fit into the lives of those in developing countries, including English lessons.
The new Mozilla phone, the Firefox OS, is one example of a phone marketed to the developing world. It is going to be priced between $80 and $150. According to a press release by Mozilla, “Mobile operators will have the ability to offer richer experiences at a range of price points including at the low end of the smartphone price range, helping to drive adoption across developing markets.”
Now that mobile phone usage is rising in the developing world, Google even has a plan in the works to developing wireless networks in emerging markets. By creating local wireless broadband access Google has more opportunities to increase use of its search engine products and its Android operating system.
These technology giants are seeing the potential that developing countries have to be the newest and largest batch of consumers out there. Since 2002, mobile phone usage in the developing world has grown 321% compared to 46% in developed countries.
Furthermore, out of the top 10 countries for the most new subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2007, nine are in the developing world. The companies marketing to the developing world have realized that emerging markets are the most significant growth opportunity and that the world’s poor can utilize the technology if given the right business models are in place.
Western based companies like Google and Mozilla in part have realized the potential of the developing world because some of their major competitors are developing world based companies. Four of the world’s top seven mobile operators are based in emerging markets. These companies often have the advantage of lower cost business models and a better understanding of the needs of those in emerging markets.
The competitiveness of emerging market companies exemplifies how much power the consumers of the developing world can have. With huge untapped potential consumer markets in the developing world, Western based companies in not just mobile phone operation but every sector of industry would do well to invest in these emerging markets and utilize their vast human resources.
– Martin Drake