Six years ago, Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia had a pretty broad brief for Jawahar Kanjilal: he had to launch some services targeted at emerging markets. Kanjilal did some research and zeroed in on an SMSbased information service called Nokia Life Tools (NLT), which would provide agricultural information, such as weather reports and crop prices, and educational services such as English language courses.
The success in India pushed Nokia Life to spread to other emerging markets. Today, almost half of its subscriber base is outside India, with 30 million users in China and 10 million users each in Nigeria and Indonesia. It has tied up with UNESCO in Nigeria to launch a service to help educate primary school teachers. In Jakarta, about 8,000 women use an NLT service called Usaha Wanita which helps women run small businesses. “A lot of wealth in these countries is in rural and underdeveloped cities,” says Sanchit Vir Gogia, Chief Analyst and CEO of Greyhound Research, an IT research and advisory firm.
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