China's digitalised environment could offer inspiration for Africa's future

20 March 2019 2 min. read
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As China leverages its large and digitally connected population to become a hub for digital services across the globe, the country could potentially become a source of inspiration for the African continent in terms of innovative use of technology, according to global professional services firm Deloitte.

New analysis from the Big Four accounting and advisory firm on the technology, media and telecommunications (TMT) scenario across the globe has revealed that China is rapidly emerging as a centre for data connectivity. By the end of this year, the country will expectedly have 1.2 billion 4G subscribers.

In addition to being an interesting phenomena for digital businesses across the globe, the scenario also has particularly strong implications for Africa, according to Deloitte. By 2021, Africa is expected to have as many as 1 billion internet connections, placing it amongst the largest data markets in the world.

China's digitalised environment could offer inspiration for Africa's future

“China is no longer that place you get cheap tech products from; it’s a country that’s increasingly innovating in a number of critical areas that leaders here in Africa, both in the private and public sector, can look to for inspiration as they seek to solve local problems and unlock new opportunities for their citizens,” said Mark Joseph, Leader for TMT at Deloitte South Africa.

Some of the areas that Joseph points out where China has been innovatively leveraging its new data connectivity include the rapidly expanding mobile payments sector, online shopping and transportation. Fintech has already become a catchy concept across Africa, and the new technology is expected to fuel further growth.

As China has moved towards innovation, a number of international players have become interested in investing in the newly connected digital market. Africa is soon become similarly connected, and a number of firms are looking to inculcate a sense of innovation amongst the business environment on the continent.

“This is tremendously encouraging for us here in Africa. It shows we can start moving now to capitalise on these exciting trends, adapting and optimising our models as internet connectivity becomes faster and more widespread, enabling new technologies and unlocking significant new opportunities,” said Joseph.