In a recent article, WIRED magazine stated that over 200 million people will connect to the internet for the first time in 2013 – and they will mainly experience their first online entrance from countries such as Latin America, Asia and Africa. This means that the internet demands will shift even more towards non-English speakers or speakers that do not have English as a first language and it furthermore suggests that if global companies want to succeed, they must localise themselves.
In 1950, there were only two megacities, i.e. cities that have a population of over ten million people: New York and Tokyo. Today we have a total of 27, including London, Cairo, Moscow, Sao Paulo, Delhi, Mexico City, Shanghai and Tokyo. According to an estimation by McKinsey, the only city which will become a “megacity” in the developed world between now and 2025 is Chicago (USA); nine new ones will arise in Asia. Similar to this, although London is the largest city on Twitter, it is presently the only English-speaking city in the top ten list of the social network Facebook, ranked the fourth largest city with approximately six million users. It falls behind Bangkok (Thailand) with nine million users and Jakarta (Indonesia) and Istanbul (Turkey) with seven million users each. The other six cities are located in North America (Mexico), South America (Columbia, Brazil, Chile, Argentina) and Asia (India). If Russia or China were included in the social network, these new markets would most definitely have the biggest share, because the Chinese local player Qzone has 530 million users and Russian’s Vkontakte 110 million users (May 2012).
This suggests that large companies in the developed world will have to act smartly upon this change and need to be aware of the local needs instead of trying to sell cultural and economic exports. Innovation and growth are not only preserved for English-speaking countries and in order to be able to understand and communicate with new markets and megacities, localisation will be the key to success.