Online commerce, Informations and communications technologies (ICT) and many digital applications are helping a growing number of small businesses and first-time entrepreneurs in developing digital economies like China and India. As per the latest report from UNCTAD titled Information Economy Report 2017: Digitalization, Trade and Development, developing digital economies, like China and India, accounted for nearly 90 percent of the 750 million people that went online for the first time between 2012 and 2015.
Among top ten countries by a number of people that went online for the first time, India retained top position followed by China. Other countries that have gone online during the same period include Nigeria, Mexico, Brazil, Indonesia, Iran, Japan and Pakistan in the same order. At present India has 462 million internet users.
The growth has been supported by a boom in 3D printing, artificial intelligence, Internet of things, cloud computing, big data, and automation including in developing countries, added the report.
UNCTAD Secretary General Mukhisa Kituyi said that they are excited to see the transformation done by the digitalisation, but he warned against assuming internet as a panacea for everything.
According to research analysts, China and India will gain from their large base of digital users and high level of user savviness, particularly smartphone usage and thus have the biggest opportunity to grow and scale digital platforms.
Rising digital economy markets
India, particularly, has seen a noticeable rise in recent years. With a rise in number of mobile Internet users, India is expected to grow to almost 650 million by 2020, users with high-speed Internet access is expected to be around 550 million.
This can prove to be a huge boost for the digital economy. Data consumption is set to expand to around 7-10 GB per month per user by 2020 from the current 700 MB per month per user.
Among the UPI payment apps, Government-backed BHIM has consolidated its position and reported to be a leader in the segment. Almost 17% of the total percentage across the globe came from India. WhatsApp retains number one position in messaging app followed by Facebook Messenger in the country.
Globally, despite the recent rise in digitisation, more than half of the population remains offline, and the pace of growth in access use is slowing. Though the report added that global Internet traffic is expected to be 66 times higher than in 2005.