Technology Usage in Asia

WSJ writes: ” Intel Corp. senior researcher Genevieve Bell makes a science out of being nosy. As a cultural anthropologist for the American microchip giant, she has spent the last two and a half years hanging out in 100 homes across seven Asian countries, watching how ordinary folks tinker with computers and gadgets…Ms. Bell has come to some conclusions with serious implications for technology makers and marketers: Globalization is not going to produce a globally uniform consumer, because gadgets such as cellphones and Wi-Fi laptops are being used in different ways around the world.” Excerpts from the interview:

In Asia, people’s identities are not just about themselves as individuals….The self is part of a family and a lineage and a clan or a village. Often, technology is consumed at those levels rather than an individual level. And that has consequences from how you brand things, to how you accommodate multiple users on a single device.

There are some usage models that we hadn’t very well anticipated. In Asia, there is much more of an emphasis on education, on family communication, on forms of social reciprocity, as a portal to your government, as well as around religion….It’s not about rational productivity or just entertainment.

In China and India and across Asia, you will find a very different sensibility about how you use technology in public, and about the notion of publicly available and shared resources. It is totally unimaginable to Americans that you would have a public cellphone-charging station. All they can imagine is that technology sells them something that they can personally use, not access something which is publicly shared.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.