I’ve mentioned Wattpad before and said that for the developing world Java ereading on cellphones is the way to go. This has inspired a few skeptical comments by readers over the years.
Now, Publishing Perspectives had interviewed Wattpad co-founder, Allen Lau, pictured above.
According to Wattpad’s analytics, English-speaking readers accounted for 42% of total e-readers, with the next largest group being Vietnamese readers at 36%.
Why Vietnam? “Our strong mobile support is helping us a lot,” says Lau, who originally hails from Hong Kong. “I think in Vietnam, most people don’t have access to computers, and if they do want that, they have to go to internet cafes. Just like in India and Indonesia, there are more people who can access the internet through ordinary ‘feature’ phones, like the Motorola Razr and simliar devices that run Java, but are not iPhones or smartphones. A lot of companies have given up on those devices, but we offer good content on those devices and the word has spread virally.” Indeed, Wattpad’s data reveals that readers in Vietnam and Indonesia rely on Java-based phone applications 85% of the time to access their site; Java remains the fastest growing mobile platform throughout Asia.
Despite the appalling conditions of much of the third world, many of the villages who are otherwise impoverished will have a high java cellphone population.