TEXT OF STORY
LISA NAPOLI: The Internet telephone service Skype says it now has more customers in China than in the United States. Marketplace’s Steve Tripoli says it just goes to show how developing countries are becoming big players in the growth of some Western businesses.
STEVE TRIPOLI: Skype officials say China’s now a main driver of their business. And users across Asia now account for 30 percent of Skype’s customer base, up from 20 percent just a year ago.
Tryggvi Thayer at the University of Minnesota says this is an example of how developing countries often skip a generation of technology as they enter markets.
TRYGGVI THAYER: Basically it’s a game of catching up, but they’re able to catch up quicker.
Thayer says swift moves to several top-flight technologies help poorer countries narrow the economic gap with wealthier ones. He says new telecomm technologies are just one example.
THAYER: These can sort of jumpstart development in developing countries, because these developing countries won’t have to go through the process of laying land lines.
It isn’t only in telecomm. Some developing countries also focus on solar power, green construction and digital databases in their new facilities.
I’m Steve Tripoli for Marketplace.
There’s a lot happening in the world. Through it all, Marketplace is here for you.
You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible.
Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.