Current session underway is “East meets West” featuring Oded Shenkar who is discussing the power struggle between the rise of China and the hold of America, and Rebecca Mackinnon who will discuss how the internet is changing China, and how China is changing the internet. As I am listening to Oded, it just occured to me that China’s aggressive entry into the African market is not making headlines in this part of the world…a few years from now everyone else will wonder how they missed the boat.
Some stats from China from Rebecca Mackinnon’s talk. 385 million mobile phone users (largest subscriber base in the world, and lots of room to grow), 5 million blogs; over 200 billion SMSs sent in 2005. She makes an important point about mobile phones increasingly becoming the primary internet access portal for many people in China, particularly those in rural areas. I think this is the model that will eventually be successful in Africa in terms of increasing the numbers of people who are able to access the internet (more so than $100 laptops).