September 18, 2012
Smartphone explosion liberating China's migrants
An insightful piece in CNN on how China is on the verge of a smartphone revolution and how most migrant worked are opting to purchase smartphones rather than low-budget fake phones that have long been a staple technology of China's marginalized populations.
Falling prices of handsets made by foreign brands paired with domestic manufacturers churning out cheaper and cheaper devices, combined with faster and more affordable data plans, means China will overtake the United States as the largest market for smartphones this year, according to market intelligence firm IDC.
Analysts expect the growth of the mobile Internet on the mainland to be game changing. Countless entrepreneurs are working to create applications and other software for the coming mobile web explosion that will be fueled by widespread smartphone adoption.
Even simple handsets have enabled China's migrant workers to find jobs, communicate with family back home, organize into groups and access information.<&o>
For migrant populations, such technology has served to "liberate workers culturally" and "restructure the social identity" of migrants, according to Pui-lam Law, editor of "New Connectivities in China: Virtual, Actual and Local Interactions."
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