Facebook’s Mobile Presence
Mobile phone usage in the emerging countries is very high. For China’s 1.37bn population there are 1.28bn mobile phones, more than 93 connections per hundred citizens. China is not the only emerging country to see high levels of phone usage. Nigeria and Indonesia both have coverage in the 90s, and India has 77 per hundred. Brazil and Russia have more mobile phones than their population, at 137 and 155 per hundred respectively. It is clear that the use of mobile phones has become a must in some of the world’s most dynamic economies. Technology companies are taking notice.
It is estimated that by the end of this year, some 3.2bn people will be connected to the internet. and 2bn of these will be from the emerging countries. In many emerging markets, the infrastructure for widespread broadband internet services does not exist. Consequently, a large percentage of internet usage is conducted through phones.
One of the most popular apps is the social network giant Facebook. The social network has 1.44bn active users each month, and this does not take into account its other apps. Facebook acquired both Instagram and Whatsapp in recent years, and these apps have a combined 1.1bn monthly active users. Whatsapp is a hit in emerging countries, with 78% of mobile users in South Africa, 72% in Singapore, and 69% in India using the app. Facebook is very popular, with India having the world’s second largest number of Facebook users at over 100m.
‘Facebook Lite: the new app’
Facebook is aware of its success in the emerging countries, and launched Internet.org to work towards increasing internet coverage to 4.5bn. Facebook has once again shown its commitment to full connectivity with the launch of Facebook Lite. Facebook Lite is already available across Asia, and will soon be rolled out across Africa, Latin America, and parts of Europe. The new Android app retains all of the features of the original, but with certain adjustments to make it more suitable for emerging countries. Facebook aimed to create an app that can work with 2G internet connections.
The app takes up less than 1MB of space, ensuring that it installs and loads quickly. In areas with weaker or less reliable internet services, this is key. The app keeps all of Facebook’s core features. Users can scroll down their newsfeed, receive notifications, and post statuses and photos. This is a wise move from Facebook. The number of mobile internet users in the emerging countries is growing daily. Facebook Lite will ensure that they are well connected.
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