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How Internet Growth Is Playing Out in Top Emerging Markets
September 1, 2010
The number of Internet users in the top emerging markets is set to nearly double by 2015 - a pace of growth that sounds enticing but that actually presents plenty of challenges for businesses, according to a Boston Consulting Group report released Wednesday. The report estimates that China, India, Brazil, Russia and Indonesia will have 1.2 billion Internet users within five years, up from about 610 million in 2009.
Developing countries didn't go through the same technological development that the U.S. did, but their late arrival to the Web means that they get to skip things like bulky grey PCs and go straight to mobile devices. But technology use is evolving so rapidly there that it can be tough for businesses to keep up. “China provides an instructive example because, for many companies, opportunities have already been missed,” the report says. “Most of the relationships between the digital players and Chinese consumers have already been cemented.”
Despite the rapid growth of Internet usage, though, there are still plenty of barriers. For one thing, most people don't have ready access to PCs and broadband. PC penetration ranges from about 32% in Brazil and Russia to about 5% in India and Indonesia, according to the report. Instead, people rely on mobile devices and Internet cafes. In China, where the PC penetration rate is 28%, the growth of such cafes has been spurred by the fact that broadband is actually cheaper than dial-up. Our colleagues at India Real Time point out that in India, as in other developing countries, low literacy rates make Internet adoption difficult. Hardware might have to change to accommodate that to voice-based devices or other gadgets that are more intuitive to use, they say.
There are a few other trends among all the countries studied: instant messaging is far more popular in these countries than in the developed world, as are online music and games. And people there are reluctant to pay for content online, particularly those in India and Indonesia. But it would be a mistake to think that tech use in all these developing markets is the same; each country has some intriguing quirks. Indians, for example, are really into job-hunting sites. Social networking is most popular in Indonesia and Brazil. And India, Brazil and Indonesia favor multinational sites, while people in Russia and China go local mainly because of the low percentage of the population that speaks English.
No trecho inicial do terceiro parágrafo - Despite the rapid growth of Internet usage, though, there are still plenty of barriers. - a palavra despite introduz
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