Internet Cafés Disappear
Internet cafes, once being the communication hub in developing countries, are fast disappearing from our life. The reason is obvious – the rise in smartphones is making the need to go into a café largely redundant.For example, in Rwanda one Internet café went from 200 daily customers to just 10. India is suffering as well – for instance, some businesses in the southern city of Mysore have opted to sell stationery or sweets instead of Internet access. In the meantime, Internet café owners have to diversify their offerings in order to include flight bookings, mobile phone top-up cards, and accessories for different gadgets. Even cafés in Myanmar, where mobile penetration is very low, are facing the same trend there.
However, more developed countries had seen cafés survive to cater for immersive Internet gaming. At the same time, the number of such cafes in South Korea dropped to 15,800 in 2012 from 19,000 in 2010. As for China, the number of online cafes there dropped 7% to 136,000 in 2012 from 2011.
The above mentioned statistics flies in the face of a 5-year study released by the University of Washington in July, which discovered that Internet users in developing countries still rely on such public venues as cafes and libraries for Internet access even when smartphones are available. The research insisted that one technology won’t replace the other and smartphones are not responsible for the current trend.