I enjoyed an article today about the search habits of Chinese and American youth. The short story is that the search stats for product information are incredibly similar:
Give advice to others about products/services purchased
Chinese 18-34 **Americans 18-34 Regularly Regularly Search Online Search Online Regularly 56.1% 53.8% Occasionally 42.5% 43.9% Never 1.4% 2.3% Source: BIGresearch, *China Quarterly (Q2 2008), **SIMM 12 (Jun 08)
What was not a shock to me, but might interest the folks who most read this blog (56% from the US) was the way they shared information after they secured what they were looking for online: where American young adults prefer to pass information person to person or via email, Chinese Netizens text message, or call each other. So, that’s what is going on in most classrooms in China: They are not sending the exam answers to their buddies, they are just doing SMS reviews of that new i-BOD or i-Fone at the local electronics speakeasy.
As seriousness aside, it is a shock to a first-time visitor to see how prevalent SMS texting is here. I pampered myself a few weeks go with a movie and a pizza. It costs about 20% more here (and 60% if adjusted for cost of living) for that combo than in the states–and we want them to quit buying 60 cent DVDs, but I digress. At Pizza Hut I guestimated that 2/3 of the people within view were either on the phone, sending a message or playing a game. And later, IN the theater, about 10% of the crowd there for Kung Fu Panda appeared to be glowing in the dark from ambient light coming off their cell phones.
What I found when i was teaching was that a rumor, truemor, or current event release could travel to every student residing at the far reaches of the campus faster than any Public Address system. Smart application designers are going to learn how to leverage that power in the very near future. I look toward mobile entrpreneurs to find ways to effectively deliver viral ads in the body of messages.
Me? I am still looking for a cheap James Bondian style pen that will jam non-emergency calls on the train, at restaurants and movie houses and broadcast parental style admonitions to the offending parties.
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