A Golden Age of Local Digital Stars

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The global Internet is becoming a little less American, and it can be both thrilling and volatile.

I’m obsessed like a small regional e-commerce star Kauppung in South Korea And Jamia in parts of Africa, And how they are handling Amazon (so far).

His success is proof of what a development away from online services as a homogeneous can be – and Massive US-dominated – global blob. And it shows that we can now be at the pinnacle of a golden age for country-specific or regional digital experts.

At a time when many people and elected officials are mostly concerned about the power of American and Chinese technology giants who believe in what people believe and remodel economies, it is good that Big Tech’s dominance There are more options. But there is also something magical about shared Internet services globally.

Let’s start with a brief Internet history: The first quarter of the modern Internet — for American companies — and more recently, the Chinese people — has primarily been the dominant global force. Facebook and its Instagram and WhatsApp apps, Netflix, Uber and China’s Didi Chuxing and Tickcock have gained traction in many countries.

Global digital titans do not appear to be lacking, but they are being challenged by country-specific or regional power players. Are regional e-commerce companies like MercadoLibre in Latin America And Tokopedia in Indonesia. Twitter is influential in India, but like Twitter Ku is getting grounded. American tech powers look on with envy in Southeast Asia’s Grab and Gojek, offering scooter rides, a hair blow, or a home loan Without leaving the app.

There is a mix of reasons for the rise of local digital stars.

First, countries are adding more barriers to foreign Internet services. India A bunch of Chinese apps blocked TikTok was inducted last year during a border standoff, and this accelerated the creation of digital services in India. The Russian government has tried to induce people to use Internet services domestically to avoid going viral in moments of crisis, as did my colleague Anton Trianovsky written record.

But the flowering of local Internet services is not always the result of protectionism and nationalism. In some cases, homegrown companies are being thriving or kicking the butts of global tech superpowers because they are doing exactly what they do well.

It can be great to have an option for tech giants, but I worry about what we would lose if we didn’t have a shared culture moment on YouTube or an affection for Amazon in general. Perhaps you think that I am silly, but I believe that there are elements of the global Internet that bring us a little closer. (And sometimes, rip the world off. It’s all complicated.)

Partly because YouTube and Spotify are popular in Bogota, Bangalore and Boise, a fragmented world Shares reggaeton and love of K-pop music. When most of the world uses internet sites such as Facebook and Twitter, pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong Help promote regional protest movements In Thailand and Myanmar.

I am glad that Couping can satisfy South Koreans’ love of online shopping. Indonesians deserve local corporations who know what they need better than some distant tech giants. I also hope that we can manage to maintain those fine threads of shared Internet life.


In the Bifor Times, once or twice a month I will open the Grub app and order too much food from the burger place around the corner from me. One day I looked at the restaurant’s own menu and realized that my burger and fries cost a few dollars more in the app.

If you have used a food or grocery service like Grubh, Instacart or DoorDash, you may have a moment when you realize that prices are higher in restaurants or stores. Or you may be wondering what a “service fee” is.

(Read my colleague Erin Griffith New article Regarding Instacart’s popularity during the epidemic and the company’s expansion plans.)

This is because in the race to grow as quickly as possible, these apps almost universally hide what their convenience services really cost us. What if – mind-blowing suggestions are coming – we knew that burgers or groceries had been delivered to our doorstep?

How does this work. My colleague Brian Ax. Chen found last year that the same food is ordered from four different delivery apps 91 percent over 7 percent What would he have paid if he had bought food directly from the restaurant.

Higher costs come from mixing prices with menu items, a rumble of service or other fees, and even deviations in sales taxes. Courier “tips” is sometimes Went into the companies’ pockets Too.

The result is that Almost impossible to know If we are paying a fair price for the facility, then what exactly do these services cost or decide for ourselves.

I think my burger place around the corner marks the prices of orders that come by the app to offset the commissions paid by the restaurant. Fair enough Some people prefer to use Instacart or a restaurant delivery app to avoid the risk of contracting Coronavirus. I got it. What is not fair, the exact price is not known.

I still get takeout burgers from that place around the corner. But now I say it on the phone – telephone! – And know that there is more money in my pocket and also in restaurants.


  • Like swing voters before an election: My colleagues Michael Corkery and Karen Weisz reported on a drive to unionize Amazon warehouse workers in Alabama and how they are getting on Surrounded by the arguments of advocates on both sides. Even the timing of traffic lights has been the subject of controversy.

  • No, tech companies can’t fix everything: NBC News And Bloomberg “It was written about Microsoft’s struggles to help operate government vaccine websites in New Jersey, New Jersey, Iowa and Washington, DC,” NCB News wrote, adding that the current digital infrastructure for tech giants like Microsoft Patchwork was very difficult to add to the 99 counties of the framework.

  • Last Purely Good Day on the Internet: It was February 26, 2015, when people were clinging to the minute-by-minute saga of llamas on the loose in Arizona and debated about the “costume”. My colleague charlie warzel On the first anniversary, he wrote something Of that great day.

This giant dog and this little dog Best friends, and I love it.


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