I was surprised when I first heard that “Internet helps 45% sale of the movie tickets in New Delhi capital circles”. It seemed to me that I was way behind the rapid cyberizing trend in the country’s capital.
Is “45” a high percentage point? Compared with 13% in America, the leading giant in the world movie and Internet industry ? The number is much higher. In China, people turn to the Internet for cheaper tickets, while in New Delhi, the price of tickets sold online is almost the same as they are sold at the ticket window. People buy tickets online just for convenience.
So are Indian audiences seeking out the fashionable and having very deep pockets? The answer is uncertain. The New Delhi capital circles refers to New Delhi Municipality and some surrounding satellite towns such as Gurgaon and Noida. The movie theaters in the region are mostly modern theaters with multiple movie halls. Here most of the audiences are from middle class, holding smart phones in their hands and bank cards in their bags. For this group of people, life without Internet is unbearable. However, in Faridabad, not far from New Delhi, people still choose to queue up at the ticket window. Buying tickets online is a strange thing for them as most of them don’t have smart phones. If you go further to towns and villages near the capital circles, going to movies becomes a rare thing. In places where power supply only lasts for several hours in a day, people have no idea what value Internet can bring to their life.
The different ways to buy movie tickets mirror a widening “digital divide” in India. India owns world-class colleges of computer science which are well-known for being the “Silicon Valley of technology”. Many of its Internet consultancy firms play leading roles in business. However, embraced by the strong arms of these IT giants, the ancient nation still contains some “Internet low lands” which haven’t been “connected with the digital network”. Although India is now the fastest-growing smart phone market in the world, the popularization rate of Internet and broadband remains low in the country. By the end of last year, only 100 million Indians were using broadband. And its average speed of connecting to network ranks 115 in the world.
While people living in the city complain of the speed of 4G network, rural residents have to set time to use electricity. It is not easy for “digital India” to run under these circumstances.The “blueprint of digital development” issued by the Indian government at the beginning of this July said that India planned to cover 250,000 villages with optical fibre network before 2019. The project aims at bringing the vast rural areas in India into the Internet age. Many Indian media hold the view that the reality is far more complicated. In those rural areas where literacy level and poverty rate are not so optimistic, the cheapest Internet data package maybe a burden for most people.
It is not only in India but also in many other developing countries that the information industry is considered to be an impetus driving the national economy to a higher ground. Many media reports have indicated that the combination of information industry (IT) with traditional business can bring great benefits to the life of poor people in places such as Africa and South America, and it can also help to bridge social gulf caused by the “digital divide”. But for India, a large and complicated developing country, one industry alone is incapable of supporting the whole national economy. As some critics in India say, there always exists the wish of making India’s IT industry a driving force for its social development. But the obstacle still lies in the lack of coordination between the development of basic industries and the information industry in India.
However, it’s a good thing to live in a world where people tend to seek win-win cooperation. Indian Prime Minister Modi expressed a strong desire to work with China for improving India’s infrastructure during his visit to China. That is also a reflection of a great impetus to the economic development of India— the FT’s comment that “the abbreviation ‘Chindia’ indicates thriving and prosperity” may become ireality.
邹 松 发自新德里