Sunday, May 9, 2010


Goods and services especially designed for emerging markets often incorporate

one or more of the following characteristics:

Smaller and/or limited number of features, to keep

prices low.

Simpler, or easier to use, for inexperienced consumers.

Energy efficient (or not using any traditional energies at

all) and/or easy to repair and/or wastereducing.

Robust, as some of them are used in rugged conditions.


(the democratization of design is a global


Aimed at helping owners to generate income, or allow

users to create selfsustaining


A few reasons why these products are of interest to consumers in more

prosperous economies, too:

Cheap: 'Cheap' is king, both because of the recession (reduced spending

power), and because of the shift away from 'bling' towards frugality and

practicality as new status symbols.

Simplicity and convenience: Small/simple (and cheap!)

also rules because of transient lifestyles (more

experiences in smaller, affordable doses), and the

continual need for more convenience and simplicity

Design: 'democratization of design' means even

demanding, experienced consumers will be pleased

with products from countries and brands previously not

known for high quality and design standards.

Sustainability: Anything using less or no traditional

energy, or causing less waste, or boasting longer life

expectancy, will go down well with eco(

status) conscious consume

It is not only about all consumers, it's also about all brands:


The Classmate PC, designed by chip manufacturer

Intel, is a lowcost

netbook that is sold throughout

the world, often rebranded and sold through local

vendors. The third generation of the device was

unveiled in June 2009, with the aim of meeting

ongoing educational needs around the world.

The Cherrypal Africa is a 7inch

mini laptop, designed

for developing countries, that sells for USD 99. The

company buys excess inventory and discounted components to keep the

price down, which means that only minimum specifications are promised

on the site.

The computer, which is basically a single sheet of flexible plastic, featuring

touch screen technology, is due to be released in 2012. Costs should

remain under USD 100, making it affordable for poor and rich consumers


Food & Beverage

Nestlé's Maggi brand of instant noodles was first

introduced in emerging markets such as India and

Pakistan. The brand has since expanded to mature

consumer societies, starting with Australia and New

Zealand in 2008, where it is marketed as cheap health


Diary giant Danone's joint venture with Bangladesh's

Grameen Bank, aims to provide nutritious dairy products to deprived

populations within Bangladesh by building as many as 50 local micro plants

by 2016. Danone's experiences in Bangladesh led to the 2008 launch in

France of Ecopack, a lowcost

yogurt line.

Real estate

In April 2009, Tata Housing announced plans to build 1,300

small apartments outside Mumbai, selling them for as little as

USD 7,800. The floor area of the miniature apartments will be

between 218 and 373 square feet. When the scheme was

opened to booking in Mumbai in May 2009, more than 7,000

customers queued to pay the initial booking fee.

One to watch if you're into microhousing

(or microlodging),

not just in developing nations: think 'Single Nation',

sustainability, insane realestate



The Indian Hotels Company has built 21 Ginger

Hotels across India, with plans to build 50 more

within the next three to four years. The hotels aim

to provide basic convenience to travelers at very

affordable rates, with rooms costing between Rs

1,000 and Rs 2,999.

Tune Hotels keeps costs down by using a selfservice

online booking system, minimizing staff and

employing a payasyouuse

system for various

amenities such as airconditioning.

The chain

currently operates five hotels across Malaysia and Indonesia, but aims to

expand to 150 hotels around the world by 2012.

In Q2 of this year, Air Arabia plans to open a 300 room budget hotel at

Sharjah International Airport. The hotel will cater to business travelers and

individual guests passing through the UAE, offering amenities such as a

gym, pool, wifi, and meeting rooms.


The Grameen Foundation helps the world's poorest

(especially women) improve their lives and escape

poverty through access to microfinance in 23

countries worldwide. Yet it also has a subsidiary in

the United States, called Project Enterprise. Since

2008 Grameen has collected 1,700 borrowers in New

York City, and last June (2009) it opened a second

branch in Omaha, Nebraska.

A similar initiative, online microlending


Kiva, has also expanded operations into the

'developed' world: it has partnered with ACCION USA, a microfinance

institution lending in 48 states across the US, and Opportunity Fund, a

community development financial institution based in San Jose.


The Logan range, a series of lowcost

cars produced

by Renault's Dacia subsidiary in Romania, has been

outpacing overall car sales in key European markets

by appealing to budgetconscious

consumers. The

range was initially designed for emerging markets,

using simple parts to keep maintenance costs down,

but it has found success amid consumers' economic

concerns in Western Europe.

After the muchhyped

introduction of the Tata Nano in India (a small,


car for the 'masses'), all eyes are now on the Tata Nano

Europa. Tata plans to offer the Nano Europa starting in 2011, and around

2013 in the US.

Meanwhile, RenaultNissan

has claimed that its partnership with Bajaj Auto

will result in the ULC model by 2012, at a cost that will be lower than any

car today made in India.

In late 2009, Indian tractor manufacturer Mahindra and Mahindra launched

a compact 4wheel

delivery vehicle designed for city center use. The GiO is

designed to command more respect on the road than traditional 3wheel

delivery vehicles, while still offering the maneuverability necessary to

move through inner city streets. One to succeed outside India, too?


Zeebo is a low cost games console targeted at consumers in

developing markets. Games are downloaded via a 3G

wireless connection, and the console uses only 1 watt of

power. Zeebo began retailing in Brazil and Mexico in 2009

at approximately USD 200. The console is scheduled for

release in India this year, and in China by 2011.


Nokia Money is a new mobile financial service enabling

consumers to send money to another person just by

using the person's mobile phone number, as well as

to pay merchants for goods and services, pay their

utility bills, or recharge their prepaid SIM cards.

Nokia is building a wide network of Nokia Money

agents, where consumers can deposit money, or

withdraw cash from their accounts. The service is

planned to be rolled out gradually to selected

markets, beginning in early 2010.


Adidas has announced plans to produce 1 euro trainers

for millions of consumers who would otherwise be

unable to afford shoes. Pilot production is planned to

begin this year in Bangladesh, with the final design yet

to be confirmed.

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