October 31, 2007

Norms, Architecture and Adaptation [7:33 am]

Chinese get the message on textingpdf

E-mail has become the new snail mail for many Chinese as they turn to the immediacy of text messages on cellphones and instant messages on personal computers. The most affluent and educated use e-mail, but by and large people here rely much more heavily on the shorter, faster and more conversational methods of electronic communication.

E-mail here is treated with the same disdain as the telephone answering machine, said Guo Liang, a professor at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing.

“You won’t have a direct response; you have to wait,” he said.China’s mania for messaging — particularly mobile messaging — is largely a product of how technology developed here. Like other emerging global markets, rural regions of China lacked phones or even a television as recently as two decades ago. The country modernized just as mobile technology was broadly accessible throughout the world.

China is now the world’s largest mobile phone market.

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