Witnessing the full house in Ogilvy’s Beijing office on Monday, the unheard of “Mobile Social Venture” topic rang some bell in our mobile community. Many thanks to Kaiser Kuo - Mobile Monday Beijing Adviser Extraordinaire - and Rita Yang, to let us use Ogilvy’s “Office of the Year 2006″!
James Shen, Senior Director @ Qualcomm China introduced their Wireless ReachInitiative, a global Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) project. In China, they offered with China Unicom handsets and credit to support and help coordinate PlanetFinance’s micro-finance network of micro-lenders. Other initiatives aim at bringing the Internet to remote locations by leveraging CDMA data cards as Internet modems.
Ludovic Bodin, founder of the Social Venture Forum gave an overview on how mobile projects could target populations that are usually not considered by operators and bring them services that can make a huge difference to the local economy, small businesses and individuals in remote or less developed areas, as mobiles substitute for slow or unreliable postal, transport, banking and information systems.
He also highlighted the fact that operators in developing countries more often look at glamorous technologies and services rather than leveraging the experience and best practices of other developing markets. He gave a number of examples of successful and profitable services, some of which could be replicated in China.