Mobile internet adoption in Africa is taking place at almost double the global rate, a trend that has sparked debate among development and tech enthusiasts as to whether this marks a radical shift in the way the internet of the future will be used and accessed. Has the range of innovative services currently available on mobile devices come about purely as a result of necessity, or through a deliberate decision to focus on the mobile solution by forward looking African companies and entrepreneurs?

Some recent examples of the level of digital sophistication evident in Nigeria, and in Africa’s technology industry as a whole, can shed some light on this. In February this year, the BBC website announced with fanfare that RBS and Natwest, two UK banks, would be pioneering the use of Touch ID on the iPhone as a security enhancement for their mobile banking applications. What the BBC didn’t know was that Touch ID was already going live across mobile banking networks, with some Nigerian banks incorporating the feature before their UK counterparts. Read more

India’s ecommerce market is on a rocket-like trajectory. The success of home-grown players such as Flipkart and Snapdeal has grabbed investor attention and now venture capitalists and global tech giants are flocking from China and elsewhere in the hope of finding India’s Alibaba – vital ammunition in the battle for the Indian middle class, which is set to outstrip that of the US in a matter of years. Read more

Clouds hang over Russia and challenges abound in Latin America and South Africa, but emerging market (EM) consumers remain robust in Asia and are voracious almost everywhere when it comes to buying cars, smartphones and holidays, a survey of 16,000 EM consumers conducted by Nielsen, a research firm, shows.

The survey – conducted in Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and South Africa for Credit Suisse – shows that differentiation between countries and products is key to understanding EM consumer trends this year, rather than generalising across emerging markets as a whole. Read more

There you are, taking it easy on your summer holiday in Istanbul or Dubai, searching online for the next restaurant to sample. You may not know it, but the information you seek could be coming to you courtesy of a small company based in Gurgaon, near New Delhi.

Zomato, an online restaurant directory, has become a household name in India. That could soon be true in many other markets. Over the past year the website has expanded quickly overseas – from Poland to New Zealand – through a mixture of acquisitions and organic growth. Read more

Ratan Tata (pictured), who was the head of India’s powerful Tata group until 2012, ushered in a period of ambitious international expansion at the company. He is one of the most respected figures in the business community today.

On Wednesday, it was announced that the illustrious businessman has personally invested in Snapdeal, the online marketplace that is battling to win a share of India’s fast-growing market for ecommerce. Read more

Deutsche Post DHL, which makes money by shipping parcels around the world, plans to invest at least €100m in India over the next two years and is piloting a new e-commerce model for the Asia Pacific in the fast-growing market.

The move reinforces the recent take-off in India’s online shopping sector, as large platforms consolidate, infrastructure improves and internet penetration rises. Read more

It’s all kicking off in Indian ecommerce. Flipkart, an ecommerce website founded by two former Amazon employees, raised $1bn in equity this week. Amazon itself quickly followed, with an announcement on Wednesday that it was investing a further $2bn in the country.

As competition becomes fierce at the top of the market, beyondbrics went to Bangalore to meet senior executives from Myntra, the fashion retailer that Flipkart acquired this year. Read more

Money sent home by Nigeria’s emigrant workers traditionally covers basic expenses like housing, education and medicine. Today however, the burgeoning middle class of Africa’s most populous country is spending an increasing proportion of the $21bn remittances it receives each year on consumer goods like televisions, personal computers and fashionable clothing.

For ecommerce startup Jumia, the African diaspora represents a potentially lucrative market and this month it launched a website through which UK-dwelling Nigerians can send consumer goods from watches to dishwashers directly to their family and friends back home. Read more

All eyes are on China’s Alibaba, the e-commerce behemoth, and its planned US listing – not least from neighbouring India.

Senior management at Snapdeal, the online marketplace backed by eBay, are watching the initial public offering (IPO) closely as they mull a similar listing themselves. Co-founder, Kunal Bahl, told beyondbrics that the company could launch an IPO in 18 to 24 months’ time. Read more

From Uber to GrabTaxi, the leading car-for-hire apps are finally coming to Jakarta, where they will find congested roads and congested mobile bandwidth but also a large market of tech-savvy consumers. Read more

Russia’s shoppers are buying more goods online than ever before. E-retail sales have grown at a rate of around 26 per cent a year and 57 per cent of non-grocery retail spending is now made online.

This may seem odd for a nation that prefers to pay in cash and doesn’t have a reliable postal service, both typically important for e-retail. Attitudes to other payment methods are changing, however, and some home grown businesses have adapted their approach to suit Russian preferences. Read more

India’s Snapdeal, an online marketplace akin to EBay, is powering ahead, with sales growing five-fold between 2012 and 2013. But what is unusual is that it in a male-dominated society in which men hold the purse strings, it is women who are driving much of the growth.

Kunal Bahl, chief executive, says the company could realistically make sales of between $10bn and $20bn in the next five years. This compares to current annual sales of almost $1bn, according to Bahl. Read more

Being recognised by Bollywood is often the ultimate accolade for anything in India – an issue, a person, a business. But the folks at India’s number one matrimonial website seem admirably unfazed by the imminent launch next year of a Bollywood romcom, ‘Running‘. Read more

By Chris Webster of eBay

Parul Arora always knew her mother had immaculate taste in jewellery – taste so good it appealed to both her younger friends and an older generation at the same time. Together with her mother, she decided to go into business and started selling locally-sourced, handmade jewellery on eBay from their home in New Delhi.

In doing so, Parul tapped into what is evolving to be one of the most virile online marketplaces in the world. The Indian retail environment is going from strength to strength, and not just for local businesses – this is a two-way virtual high street. Read more

Chinese growth needs to come more from consumption than investment. However, Chinese consumption patterns will be nothing like what we’ve seen in developed countries. According to Gordon Orr, Asia Chairman at McKinsey, China will turn the consumption patterns known in the west upside down. Read more

Internet, consumer goods and aspirational brands – they always crop up when folk in India discuss the growth of the economy. And a business that incorporates all three sounds like a recipe for success. claims to be the largest online fashion store in India – by revenues, by customers and by daily traffic – with 30 per cent market share. Read more

The king of online marketplaces is teaming up with local players as it looks to make headway in India’s unique and growing market.

On Tuesday, eBay said it was going into a commercial partnership with Snapdeal, an Indian online shopping platform set up in 2010, as well as investing in the company. Read more

Ecommerce is booming in Russia as more people hook up to the internet. But a corresponding surge in parcel volumes is straining the the old fashioned postal services to the limit and last week cost the head of the Russian post office his job. Read more

By Stefan Wagstyl in Hong Kong and Leslie Hook in Beijing

Chinese businesses from rural poultry farms to the luxury Shanghai Four Seasons hotel are beginning to feel the impact of a bird flu outbreak that has killed nine people.

Taobao Marketplace, the ecommerce platform of the Alibaba internet group, confirmed that as of Thursday it had banned online trading of live poultry in the Shanghai region. Read more

By Jefferson Finch of Eurasia Group

The rapid spread of smartphones and mobile broadband networks in Brazil is grabbing the attention of policymakers keen on promoting financial inclusion, and of businesses seeing an opportunity to reach millions of new customers. Government officials and companies are looking to mobile payments (m-payments) as a means to achieving those ends.

So far, Brasília hasn’t adopted a coordinated approach and independent company efforts have met with varying success. But President Dilma Rousseff’s agenda for this year will move the needle in the right direction, laying the groundwork to bring millions of Brazilian consumers and entrepreneurs into the formal economy while upending sectors such as retail and financial services. Read more