Whilst writing this Post I’m about 10,000 metres over the Antarctic (on an aeroplane) on my way back to Australia from a trip to South Africa. There were a few things from a technology perspective that I found interesting during my trip. Here are a select few items.
Mobile Phones in South Africa
BlackBerry and Samsung rule. iPhone appears to have a small market share with Android and, interestingly, BlackBerry being dominant. Whereas in Australia we see Apple stores, in South Africa it’s Samsung stores that are prevalent. The number of people accessing the Web from phones seems to be quite large but the proportion of responsive or mobile-friendly Websites appears low.
Websites are behind
Small business Websites in South Africa are really behind the times. Not only is the design and content lacking but so is Website functionality. This is a broad generalisation however it was surprising to see how bad many Websites (unnecessarily) are.
Online selling has a major obstacle in South Africa. The South African Post Office (SAPO), so I’ve been told, is slow, unreliable with services being affected by crime. There are private couriers but I’m not sure how good and cost effective these couriers are. There are so many opportunities for Online selling in South Africa so its a real pity that there isn’t a postal service to support these sellers.
There are some great Government and NGO initiatives to support small business in South Africa (I visited one such project called the Project Gateway which is housed in an ex-prison in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu Natal). I`m not certain what is being done to support small and micro business to get Online but I certainly hope there is help in getting these fledgeling businesses Online. There is just so much opportunity Online that getting more businesses in South Africa Online just has to be a good thing.
I had a great trip to South Africa and I`m especially excited as to the Online opportunities that may be afforded entrepreneurs and small businesses in that beautiful country. There are challenges to aspects of being Online in South Africa (e.g the postal service) but, on the whole, the Online opportunities are huge.