China ahead of India in internet accessibility: Pew

Gap in the ownership of smartphones between China and India is one main reason for the digital divide

GN Bureau | March 20, 2017


#China   #India   #smartphone   #digital divide   #Pew Research   #India news  

 Internet use among Indians is less as compared to Chinese, according to findings of the Pew Research Center, a US-based think tank.

“In our latest poll, 71% of Chinese say they use the internet at least occasionally or own a smartphone, our definition of internet users. In contrast, only 21% of Indians say they use the internet or own a smartphone,” the study said.
 
The gap in internet usage is attributed mainly to the ownership of smartphone. As per the Pew report, nearly 68 percent of Chinese own a smartphone as of 2016, compared with 18% of Indians.
 
The growth in smartphone ownership in China has jumped 31 percentage points since 2013. On the other hand, India recorded the growth of only 6 points over the same time period, as per the study. 
 
Broader economic trajectories between the two countries are also one of the main reasons for the digital divide, the Pew findings reveal. 
“Between 2001 and 2011, the share of middle-income Chinese, those making $10.01-$20 (Rs 655 to Rs 1300 approx.) a day, jumped from 3% to 18%. In India over the same decade, the middle class share of the population grew from 1% to 3%. In 2015, China’s gross domestic product per capita (PPP) was over five times that of India. Our own research has shown a strong correlation between per capita income and levels of internet access and reported smartphone ownership,” according to the study. 
 
Moreover, some analysts have argued that Chinese investment in digital infrastructure accounts for China’s technological lead over India, the study said.
 
Other reasons for the digital divide include urban-rural gap and social media use. 
 
“More urban Chinese (72%) own a smartphone compared with rural Chinese (63%), and the same goes for urban Indians (29%) compared with rural Indians (13%).”
 
In India, gender gap on smartphone ownership is also causing digital divide. As per the study, 23 percent of Indian men are more likely than 14 percent of women to own a smartphone.
 

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