Bringing Tech to the Next Four Billion
Monday, July 23, 2007
“The thing about poor people is that they pay for services,” says Allen Hammond of the World Resources Institute. “How else are they going to get them?” ?The thing about poor people is that they pay for services,? says Allen Hammond of the World Resources Institute. ?How else are they going to get them??
That bittersweet remark anchored a panel on ?The Next Four Billion? at Fortune?s iMeme conference. Hammond?s research indicates that the four billion poorest people in the world spend some $5 trillion a year on services, which represents both their urgent needs – and also a potential market for the West?s large companies.
And many companies get it. ?We have no choice but to be deeper and more relevant in this market,? says Karishma Kiri, director of the Market Expansion Group at Microsoft (MSFT). The tricky part is developing the kinds of platforms that will work for both the needs of the world?s poorest as well as those of the big companies. That?s not easy, since the growth to date has been based on selling to either established companies or to individuals who are capable of spending thousands of dollars on personal technology.
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