How low-end smartphones could democratize education in rural China

Roughly 70 percent of China’s population lives in rural areas. This also means that more than 70 percent of China’s students live in rural areas, making up some 160 million students of compulsory-education age. With the rapid decline of the price of smartphones to sub-$80, there is a huge opportunity to distribute and democratize education to China’s poorest and largest population. Armed with an arsenal of educational applications, smartphones have the capability to be powerful learning tools.

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The 14 hottest Chinese tech-startup clones of 2011

Cloning or copycatting ideas, companies, and products is nothing new in China. Westerners, especially Americans, loathe cloning; it hurts their pride and is an insult to their creativity and hard work. The Chinese, however, love it. It comes as second nature and presents a grand opportunity to seize a massive market potential.

Could collaborative consumption work in China? Not yet.

The concept of “Collaborative Consumption” is not new in the West, but it is in the East and especially in China. The term collaborative consumption basically means sharing things with other people — via barter, trade, or rental — and giving access instead of ownership. The Internet has pushed this quaint notion beyond just sharing between friends to create a powerful business model.