tech trends: future of technology in nepal
When my 74 year old grand-mother asked me to log on to ‘Skype’ to check to see if my brother who lives in the States was online, I wondered then whether ‘Skype’ and ‘Facebook’ has replaced ‘Bible’ and ‘Coca-cola’ as the most popular words.
I hear this a lot: “Nepal is far behind in technology.” After living in the United States for five years and operating several start-ups in Nepal for the past two years, I must disagree with that statement. ‘Technology’ is a vague topic. When people think of ‘technology,’ they think of ‘robots.’ But technology can be both tangible and intangible. Facebook is a technology that influences the lives of billions of people worldwide and so is ‘Google Glass.’
When I ask myself if technology has influenced my life any less or more when I was in the U.S and now in Nepal, the answer is ‘not very much.’ Maybe because Nepal is catching up with technology. Maybe technology has no geographical boundaries. Or maybe because Harvard and MIT Nepalese graduates have returned home to start tech companies of their own.
I will not be surprised if in the coming years, a Nepalese tech start-up generates millions of dollars in revenue. Until that happens, let’s discuss on where this industry is heading. Here are the top trends in the technology industry in Nepal:
Big companies will eye on smartphone apps
Just recently, I had a meeting with Bharat Golchha, one of the Directors at Golchha organization. No, the meeting was not for Hulas Power or Hulas steel or any of his family’s conglomerates. The meeting was for a smart phone application he had launched, “Swipr.” ‘Swipr’ works much like ‘Cash on Ad’ where users are paid to view advertisement and advertisers have to pay for every advertisement viewed. In just over a month, Swipr now has over 80,000 registered users. Who is next to join the smartphone app industry? Chaudhary Group? Let’s wait and see.
Rise of online payment gateway
Over the past few months, I met with Bal K. Joshi of thamel.com, Ashik Shrestha of Panchakanya Group, Biswas Dhakalof F1Soft and many others who are working on to take their online payment companies to the next level. After talking to these entrepreneurs and hearing about their vision and realizing the effort they’ve put forth, I can assure you that online payment gateways will be the next big thing in Nepal. As said by Bal K. Joshi, “once we make this happen, you can imagine the benefits e-commerce companies and consumers can get out of this.”
E-commerce companies will mushroom in 2015
Back in 2011 when I launched sastodeal.com, a lot of people told me e-commerce company would never work in Nepal. Two years later, I find the same people buying products from my company. And last year when my team launched sastobook.com, there was a huge cheer from book lovers and some of which were my friends and family who had shied away from this industry in 2011. What does this suggest? Times are changing and people are starting to acknowledge the importance of e-commerce companies like Sastodeal and Sastobook.
In 2011, my team had to worry little about competitors because there were a handful of companies in this industry. Now in 2014, every month we find a new rival. Also, big companies like Bhatbhateni and Chaudhary Group have launched their own e-commerce websites. The low start-up cost and high revenue potential makes this industry a hot cake for entrepreneurs to try their hands on.
When I was in Grade 11, I used to copy everything that was written on the white-board. These days I find college students taking photographs of the notes from their phones and iPads. They would rather write it down later at home and pay attention to lectures in college. That is if the professor would not email them the notes.
Photographs were printed and inserted in an album to be stored in the living room not so long ago. Who does that anymore? Photos are stored on Facebook, so why bother. Accounting was all computed on a big ledger a few years back. I thought this wouldn’t change until I took over the ownership at Irish Pub and saw everything was computed on accounting software. I did the same on Sastodeal and now I find other companies doing the same. As a result, replacing the traditional way of bookkeeping.
Venture Plus and most other magazines and newspapers have launched their own website. The biggest trend in the tech industry is that the advertisement market is going digital.
All of the things I mentioned above are just beginning to pop-up in the market place. But given the impact these companies and industries can make in the market place nationally and internationally, there is no doubt we will see them even more in the coming years, hence, the trend.