22 November, 2007

The Google March in Africa

Africa is rapidly developing to be an emerging market for many multi national corporations!IBM has just announced about a mentorship program in conjuction with many sub saharan universities with intent to develop an employee base when the company launches a major initiative in Africa.On the otherhand Google recently launched its first African office in Nairobi in July this year.Question is,what is in the offing with these new entrants in our domestic markets.

Generally, Googles mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.In attempting to reach that goal locally, Google intends to optimise the use of Google applications in the African,Middle East and Asian region . Further,in order to get more users in the sub saharan market Google is willing to go to the extent of buying international bandwidth and make it affordable to the locals so that they don’t have to pay the curent high premiums prevailing in the african market. Google also intends to develop their Maps product to make sure it has a more relevant appeal and contains local information that is searchable and useful.Thirdly,Google wants to help local webby's monetize local content. Lots of people have done local content but most times it’s flopped. By doing so,google intends to generate more jobs and work especially for the ailing African economies.

That is definately good news for African bloggers who feature local content but cannot effectively monetize since most African companies are yet to grasp and utilize the power of internet advertisement which is a multi billion dollar industry in the developed countries.Most of the top notch advertisement companies have no strategic plans to usurp and exploit this rapidly developing market.Groups such as Ogilvy and Mather,Ayton Young and Rubicam,Lowe Scanad Group,Adopt A Light... etc in Kenya tend to capitalize on print media,outdoor and television advertising and neglect the internet as a medium of massive advertisement perhaps due to the fact that a staggering majority of the African populace lack access to the internet or the computer.

But despite that vein of argument,the recent launch of NTV(a local Kenyan television channel) on Youtube attracted a massive 500 ,000 hits.This indicates that there is a ready market for local content both within Africa and in the diaspora that needs to be tapped.

Google is also set to join the mobile market this is evidenced by their recent stategic dalliance with Sprint Nextel and Cingular Wireless in the United States .Locally, Google in patnership with Safaricom, a leading mobile services provider in Kenya is offering the locals free internet access which obviously is a strategic move to ensure that of the more than 2 million safaricom subscribers get access to google search on the go and remain users of google products especially as it chats its way through the mobile market.It also a preparatory stage for googles attempt at being and remaining the leading search provider in the world.The mountain view based company recently unveiled a free cell phone software package,which it intends to use to more easily peddle ads and services to people who aren't in front of a PC. Thus Google is set to dominate the mobile web market as part of its expansion programe.It is hoped that phones running the new software will be cheaper hence more accesible and affordable to users.

For along time google has been indexing web pages with intent of having the largest database.This will make google eventually the leading and most comprehensive information portal.Due to this vision being championed by Larry Page (founder),Sergey Brin(co-founder) and Eric Schmidt(C.E.O Google inc.) critics have labelled google as "googzilla" and perhaps this fear of monopolization of the information market may be the driving force behind the stalling of googles bid to buy ad tracker Double Click,the leading visual advertisement content provider by regulators in Europe and America.At the same time many rights activist have raised concern over googles attempt to provide books online terming it as attempt at copyright infringement and an abuse by the company.

Their rescent third quarter financial statements(September 2007) are a proof that emerging foreign markets are proving to be the core revenue generating sources for MNC's and microsoft Corp is indeed taking cue from this.Googles revenues from outside of the United States totaled $2.03 billion, representing 48% of total revenues in the third quarter of 2007, compared to 44% in the third quarter of 2006 and 48% in the second quarter of 2007. Thus the foreign revenue curve can be seen to be exponentially growing for this company founded in a stanford university dorm and which is hardly a decade old!The example of Google portends the growth and potential that the emerging markets have and the short duration wherein profits can begin to be harnessed !If only local investors could take cue.

The march of Google in Africa will definately yield alot of benefits especially for the local information and technology industry.Their entry into the markets and attempts in creating a presence through launching products with alot of media presence bear evidence of googles attempt at exploiting the opportunities available in emerging foreign markets .This bear evidence to what this investment markets have in store for multi nationals that are willing to take the leap and who will be pleasantly suprised at the opportunities Africa has to offer.


  1. This is good news for a nomadic kenyan daughter like me. Thanks for the add and for sure you will see I read your blog atleast almost everyday when Im on internet!

  2. Google will continue 'marching' and getting stronger, as they are dedicated and focused in providing: excellent, useful and easy to use services and products to all.

    Hopefully, more and more Africans can and will use the power of the Internet with time; as it is - very few Africans can do that now.

  3. Google market penetration and product development in Kenya and the rest of African economies would be good to follow.I would like to know how it can benefit african content providers and the new generation of online advertisers and marketers.
    Do you know of Google plans for French -speaking African economies,I read up a lot about kenya,Nigeria,South Africa or Tanzania, ,what about Cote d'Ivoire,Senegal,Morroco,Tunisia and the RDC.

  4. thanks nomadic Mary,i will ensure you get more local content frequently!as for africaincorp im certain that google has a plan for the whole of Africa including the french speaking part,infact they are already recruiting but for purpose of A Non Disclosure Agreement i signed with google i cant divulge much just that Africa be prepared for the information age boom



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