Digerati – Insights into China, India, Japan, and beyond!

China

Why is Twitter launching a Chinese language option?
http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/twitter_to_launch_chinese_language_function_this_w.php
Some have speculated that Twitter is going after countries outside of China where Chinese is used in some capacity such like Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, and Hong Kong with these new options.  However, it is hard to believe that Twitter doesn’t have any designs on the estimated 485 million Internet and mobile Web users in China.

Google launches group-buying aggregator in China
http://thenextweb.com/google/2011/09/13/google-taps-into-chinas-huge-group-buying-market-with-new-aggregator-google-shihui/
Google has launched a new aggregator service called Google Shihui that collates and catalogs deals in order to take advantage of the huge amount of group buying sites (over 4,000) that have and continue to pop up in China. 

Jiepang check-ins reveal favorite brands, foods, and movies in China
http://www.penn-olson.com/2011/09/13/jiepang-brands-foods-movies/
Here’s a great infographic that traces the activity of those using Jiepang’s check-in service in China. The results were surprisingly Western. Favorite brands were revealed to be Starbucks, McDonalds, Burger King, Doraemon (the Japanese cartoon), and Earth Hour. Movies were topped by Pirates of the Caribbean 4 and Kung Fu Panda 2. Finally, food patterns showed that users tended to eat fast food in the morning before heading to street food stalls in the evening.

Chinese innovation – paper tiger or king of the hill?
http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2011/09/14/chinese-innovation-%E2%80%93-paper-tiger-or-king-of-the-hill/?hpt=hp_c2
There are two divergent views when it comes to the topic of innovation in China. One the one hand, you have those who are openly dismissive of China’s chance to be a leader in innovation. On the other China is being championed as leading the world into another Renaissance. The real situation is likely somewhere between these two opinions, as both arguments contain insight and omissions. 

Digital Naturalism – innovation Vs imitation Vs mutation
http://www.slideshare.net/plus8star/digital-naturalism  
This presentation from Ben Joffe of +eight* gives an interesting perspective on Chinese innovation. He starts by observing how frequently the same XYZ has been “invented” at different points in time in different place around the world: the printing press, the telegraph, even the bloody tablet. Ben Joffe is an acute observer of how the East differs to the West differs to the East, and is well worth following.

Spotlight On India

Google’s Internet Bus helps 1.5 million experience the Internet for the first time in India
http://www.penn-olson.com/2011/09/12/google-internet-bus-india/
Google’s Internet Bus project started as early as 2009, and has so far covered over 43,000 kilometers traveling to different parts of India. Google India claims that its Internet bus has touched more than 5.6 million people across 120 towns in India. Out of the 5.6 million people, 1.5 million of them have actually gone online for the very first time.

In India, online retailers take a new tack
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/15/business/with-no-amazon-as-a-rival-flipkart-moves-fast-in-india.html?_r=1&hpw
While Amazon will deliver to India for a hefty shipping fee (and long wait), India has, up until now, been a prime ground for more innovative (and local) ecommerce solutions. Enter FlipKart.com, which delivers books, phones and other items in as little as 24 hours at no extra cost. Like some Chinese ecommerce outfits, buyers do not pay until the product is delivered to their door. This bypasses some of the stress consumers have concerning trusting the postal service and vendor.

Twitter now in Hindi
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/news/internet/Twitter-now-in-Hindi/articleshow/9988958.cms
Twitter has launched a Hindi interface for its service. Users can now choose to read instructions on the micro-blogging site in Hindi. Twitter has been working with Hindi speaking volunteers over the past month to test the new options. A similar drive is being undertaken by Twitter’s Translation Center to translate its pages into 16 other languages, including simplified Chinese, traditional Chinese, Malay and Filipino.

Other Asia

Facebook is Asia’s fourth largest nation
http://www.thomascrampton.com/featured/facebook-now-asias-4th-biggest-nation/  
The fact that Facebook’s worldwide user base would make it the world’s third largest nation is an oft-quoted statistic. However, these charts reveal that only China, India and Indonesia are bigger Facebook’s 179 million Asian user-base.
(Thanks to Thomas Crampton for the link/content)

Japan’s smartphone gaming to grow 30-fold by 2015
http://www.penn-olson.com/2011/09/15/japan-smartphone-gaming-2015/
A new report forecasts 30-fold market growth from 2010 to 2015. This is an increase from approximately US$110 million in 2010 to $3.3 billion in 2015.

Despite rising cost of living, Vietnamese smartphone adoption rate shows no signs of slowing
http://thenextweb.com/asia/2011/09/13/rising-costs-of-living-not-stopping-the-vietnamese-from-buying-the-latest-smartphones/
Vietnam’s love of smartphones shows no signs of slowing despite the climbing inflation rates and increased costs that have hurt other industries in the nation. Vietnam saw a giant 73 percent increase in smartphone sales this year (to date), which is the prime driver behind a 27 percent increase in overall mobile device sales.