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Daily Digest | How do you engage 100 million new internet users?

Written by The Uptake Published on   2 mins read

Tech reporting is rooted in things that happen in major cities. But transformations in rural areas present interesting situations too.

Hi there. It’s Brady.

Here’s a stat worth repeating: around 40 million people in six countries across Southeast Asia—Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Thailand—used the internet for the first time in 2020.

Considering how the pandemic likely won’t fade away anytime soon, and how tech companies are going beyond dense urban areas to woo new transacting users in smaller cities and rural areas, the pace of people and businesses going online will likely only pick up.

In Indonesia, my colleague Khamila spoke to people about the matter and heard firsthand observations of how a steady internet connection changes a developing community. These frontier lands—in terms of internet accessibility—require services that are different from those offered to people in metropolises. Aside from the economic dimension to this development, people are likely to engage with broader society more frequently once they are connected over the web.

Might this also change how businesses based in the capital and commercial hubs recruit staff? If most of us can work from home, do qualified individuals still need to relocate across the country if their job can be done remotely? What other transformations will fuller connectivity bring to Indonesia—and further afield?

The next 100 million people to come online in Southeast Asia will undoubtedly hasten the changes of the region’s tech sector. We may see some answers to those questions very soon.

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