Business News of 2014-01-15

Ghana named among five emerging markets for 2014

After the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) and MINT countries (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey), The Marketer, a flagship magazine of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (UK) has named Ghana among a new set of five emerging markets and their key marketing channels.

The list below details the magazine's analysis of the emerging markets to watch this year.

1. BRAZIL – online video

Of all the Latin American countries, it’s Brazil that digital marketers should watch out for.

Brazil has the biggest online video audience in South America, with Brazilians watching over 4.7bn videos in 2011. According to comScore, YouTube is the most popular platform for Brazilian online video viewers.

YouTube reported that Brazil is its sixth biggest market in the world, reaching 79 per cent of the country’s internet users and that its views from Brazilians grew 67 per cent from 2010. A survey by Forrester in 2011 showed that 86 per cent of Brazilians reported to watch online videos, more than people in the US (80 per cent) and the UK (75 per cent).

This is surprisingly high for a country where only 40 per cent of its citizens have internet access. SDL vice-president strategy and acquisitions Otto de Graaf says: “Brazil has a very strong TV-watching culture and there’s a lot of social media usage. This determines to some extent why video is very important. With the World Cup and Olympics coming up over the next couple of years, there are big opportunities for brands to get their message out.”

2. INDONESIA –e-commerce

Far from being just an ideal holiday destination, Indonesia has entered the business market and made a global impression. The Boston Consulting Group named Indonesia “Asia’s next big opportunity” in a report released in March 2013. Its reasons are clear: Indonesia’s middle class is projected to double to 141m consumers by 2020, with economists forecasting growth of 30 per cent over the next five years. The combination of a stable political climate, a strong economy and a young population – the average age is 28 – explains why Indonesia can no longer be ignored. More specifically, it has the fastest growing e-commerce market in the world. eMarketer reported in January 2013 that B2C e-commerce sales grew 21.1 per cent to $1tn in 2012 for the first time. This year sales are expected to grow 18 per cent, surpassing North America to become the world’s biggest market for e-commerce sales. And with a growing middle-class, personal spending levels are rising by 10 per cent per year. The amount of internet users is also expected to hit 149m by 2015 – all the more reason for marketers to explore this lucrative market.

3. INDIA – smartphone apps

The statistics on India’s mobile market look promising for potential investors. The country has mobile phone penetration of 72 per cent, with 69 per cent of phones being multimedia-capable. But what’s proving to be particularly popular is India’s domestic app market. According to professional services company Deloitte the value of the Indian value added services industry, which includes mobile apps, was estimated at $3.4bn in 2011. Figures from the Asia Pacific Research Group suggest the mobile application industry in India alone is predicted to exceed $4bn by the year 2015. There is even a store in Mumbai that sells downloadable apps off its shelves: at Mobiworld, customers with smartphones can get mobile applications downloaded onto their phone using Bluetooth and a secure SMS code. The growing Indian app market is sure to provide many opportunities for mobile marketers.

4. CHINA – social media

China, which boasts more than 1.35bn inhabitants, has gone internet crazy. The country has over 591m internet users, representing almost half the population. The China Internet Network Information Centre disclosed in June this year that 464m citizens accessed the net via the use of smartphones or other wireless devices. But perhaps the most revealing aspect of their web use is the enormous popularity of social media platforms. Forget Facebook – the leading social networking service is SinaWeibo, similar to a hybrid of Twitter and Facebook. It has over 600m registered users in its database and over 60.2m daily active users. So far, the social network seems to be doing well commercially. Weibo’s advertising revenue skyrocketed 125 per cent on last year to £27m. De Graaf says that unlike Westerners, China’s population is particularly accepting of brands on social media sites. “Westerners like social sharing, while on Weibo people tend to follow brands a lot more and use it as a source of information. The acceptance of brands on Weibo is much higher. Particularly with emerging economies this poses opportunities for luxury brands.”

5. GHANA – mobile broadband

Business in Ghana is booming. Besides being in the world’s top 10 fastest growing economies of 2013, Ghana also boasts Africa’s highest penetration of mobile broadband. Twenty-three per cent of the population in 2011 were using mobile broadband, while fixed-broadband penetration stood at a trivial 0.3 per cent. Mobile operators invested heavily in 2009 and 2010, while internet service providers seemed unable to raise funds for new investments. For the telecom industry, this resulted in investment-to-revenue ratios of 65 per cent in Ghana, the highest in the world. Mobile phone penetration hit 100 per cent in November this year, and there is no sign of slowing down. An estimated 16m mobile phones are used in this country with 25m citizens, with many owning more than one SIM card. Besides Ghana, there are opportunities in other countries in the developing world. According to a report by the International Telecommunication Union, mobile broadband continued to grow at a rate of 23 per cent between 2010 and 2011. Fixed broadband isn’t doing as well, it’s only growing at a global average of 10 per cent.