As a native South African – and someone who has spent the last 8 years working in marketing here – I've seen a dramatic transformation in how people communicate and access information. South Africa has one of the world's highest rates of mobile internet penetration and I believe that the lessons from my homeland can guide marketers worldwide.
The cellphone has become ubiquitous in South Africa. From affluent urban shopping malls to poverty-stricken rural communities where they are often the sole means of communication, you'll find mobile phones in every nook and cranny of the country. A few statistics:
- South Africa has a population of 50 million people
- But of these 50 million, 10 million are under the age of nine.
- There are over 30 million active cellphone lines in the country. That's 75 percent of all South Africans, aged 10 or older.
- More than 10 million people – one-third of all active cellphone users – connect regularly to the mobile internet.