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Are Asian Rural Markets Potential Goldmines for E-Retailers?

Global Marketing News – 17th July 2015

China and India look to rural ecommerce

Ecommerce companies in China and India are turning their attentions to rural markets.

Rural communities are becoming increasingly more connected, with affordable low-end smartphones meaning that more and more rural people now have access to the internet.

Ecommerce giant Alibaba examined mobile ecommerce growth in all Chinese regions and found that 75% of this was taking place in rural areas. With a rural population of 600 million, Alibaba has said that it sees rural China as a key frontier for future growth.

To improve ecommerce services in rural China, Alibaba has teamed up with China Telecom to deliver more affordable smartphones to people living in rural China. It also has plans to invest 10 billion Yuan in the next 5 years to build more operating centres in rural areas.

In India, the ecommerce company Sahaj e-Village has also announced that they will be stepping up their efforts to serve rural communities, where internet and social media usage has jumped by a staggering 100% in the last year.

OKWave to integrate Bitcoin

Japan’s largest Q&A site, OKWave, has said that it will soon integrate Bitcoin so that users can use the virtual currency on the site.

OKWave, which has over 40 million monthly active users, will allow users to up-vote and down-vote users’ answers to questions, with the highest rated answers being paid using Bitcoin.

OKWave has commented on the new initiative, saying: “Until now, you could only leave thanks in the comments under your favourite answers, now you can send your gratitude with Bitcoin.”

OKWave is not the only big company to have integrated Bitcoin recently.

The leading Japanese ecommerce site Rakuten announced earlier this year that it was to accept the virtual currency on its American, German and Austrian platforms.

The Argentinean social network Taringa! also announced a Bitcoin tipping scheme similar to OKWave’s earlier this year. Since this was launched, the amount of content on Taringa! has increased by 40%, a trend that OKWave hopes that it will see as well.

Baidu to invest $200 million in food delivery service

Earlier this month we reported that Baidu was to invest over 3 billion US dollars in online-to-offline services in the next 3 years.

Online-to-offline services are those which allow users to do a real-world activity online, such as taxi-hailing and ticket-booking apps.

As part of this expansion into the online-to-offline world, Baidu will be investing 200 million US dollars in its food delivery service Baidu Waimai.

This will help the company to compete more effectively with rival Chinese food delivery businesses such as Meituan Waimai and Ele.me

The Chinese online-to-offline food delivery market is relatively undeveloped compared to the West, where companies such as Yelp, GrubHub and Just Eat are well-established.

Apple Pay launches in UK

The mobile payment service Apple Pay has launched in the UK.

It is only the second in the world where Apple Pay is available, having been made available in the US earlier this year.

Users who have the most recent Apple products will be able to add their card details to the payment platform, and will then be able to use their iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch to buy products in any shop with a contactless payment reader.

Users will only be able to pay for products worth up to £20 and will have to press their device’s fingerprint sensor to authenticate the payment.

Apple is not the only smartphone manufacturer to enter the mobile payments market. Samsung has also announced that they will be launching Samsung Pay in South Korea, Europe and the US in the near future.

Spanish town turns to Twitter for all administration

And finally, the Spanish town of Jun has ditched bureaucratic administration and started doing everything on Twitter.

600 of the town’s 3,500 residents have joined the social network, and use it for everything from booking doctor’s appointments to reporting crime to the police.

Webcertain’s global marketing news bulletins are daily 5-minute videos, providing marketers with the latest international digital marketing news in an easy-to-digest format.

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Gemma Houghton

Director of Marketing at Webcertain
Gemma has worked in international search marketing for over 15 years and is Director of Marketing at Webcertain, overseeing all marketing activities for the Group. She also organises and programmes Webcertain’s International Search Summit and International Social Summit, Barcelona-based conferences focusing on international and multilingual digital marketing. Gemma holds a Professional Diploma in Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing, a Diploma in Management and Leadership from the Chartered Management Institute, and a BA joint honours degree in French and German.

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