By Panos Mourdoukoutas
After conquering most of the more globalized world in just a few years, #facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is now getting ready to expand its reach further — to the people who live in countries with little access to the Internet and the world markets.
That’s more than 4 billion people without Internet access, and therefore without Facebook— 3.4 billion of whom live within 20 countries, according to a new study released recent from McKinsey & Company.
The McKinsey report finds that the offline population is scattered among rural, low income, elderly, illiterate, and female populations. For example, between 1.1 and 2.8 billion people are out of range of an existing mobile network; 920 million people offline are illiterate; and, in developing countries, women are 25 percent less likely to be connected than men.
The market potential of the less globalized world is the “fortune at the bottom of the pyramid,” a term coined by C.K. Prahalad more than a decade ago.
There’s trillions in disposable income waiting in the hands of the masses of poor at the bottom of the world income pyramid.
And that spells potential – the kind of potential which many managers and marketers routinely overlook or write off altogether, as these markets are either too small in terms of revenue potential or too costly in terms of the operating expenses required to tap into them.
Facebook has a two-step strategy to tap into this market.
Mr. Zuckerberg was the keynote speaker in the first Internet.org Summit in New Delhi, India last year.
“To connect everyone in the world, we need to solve some big barriers to connectivity,” states a Facebook news release. “By examining the social, economic and infrastructure challenges in detail, we hope this report will be useful for innovators and organizations working to develop new solutions.”
The second step is to come up with new apps that make it easier for people with low-end phones and poor connections to tap into Facebook’s site – like Facebook Lite, which the company launched recently.
These steps may be just the beginning – and in fact,Facebook may manage to achieve what crony capitalism has failed to accomplish for years: to spread economic development around the world, enriching its stockholders in the process.
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