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Published on February 14th, 2008 | by Babar Bhatti


Comparison of ICT Infrastructure In China And India

Last year I wrote about the ICT growth in Pakistan, India and China and compared the situation of telecom industry there (here and here). I saw a paper on this topic which provides comparative analysis of ICT infrastructure in India and China. It presents conclusions which are consistent with other literature and observations. Here’s an extract from this paper which is very relevant to Pakistan. The key message here is that Technology without decent education levels is not much helpful.

In order to foster the adoption on ICT services a simple requirement is the creation of manpower to use and covey the benefits associated with connectivity. Research in “Social networks” is used to convey the importance of being connected. The elementary examples of social networks we come across in daily life are for example, group of friends, NGOs, associations, societies, and the government. Common to all is that they communicate verbally but within themselves or within their small network and rarely with other social groups. Some of the reasons that contribute to this weak link are the overall objectives, information flow, education, and availability of physical infrastructure.

If technology is introduced, one can observe the differences in the organization and communication of these societies which were once connected verbally. The first and the foremost question would be whether technology can help them to learn, communicate, and share knowledge. There are certain rules and requirements such as: education, knowledge of how to use it, and the purpose of its usage. With the use of technology, the communication has improved but only within a society.

India and China are rivals in IT and IT-related services. China is ahead in terms of proliferation of internet services. China is known for being the production house of the world, while India is recognized for its service industry, i.e., Information Technology Enabled Services (ITES). In China, it is the availability of a well-developed and disciplined physical infrastructure which contributes to the growth; In India, it is the availability of millions of low-cost English-speaking professionals.

The prime factor that contributes to the adoption of technology is education. To put things in perspective, India’s biggest advantage is the availability of skilled labor and qualified engineers. But availability of such a work force is a problem. Illiteracy rates in India exceed 35%, while only 4.9% in China.

Reference: Tanguturi, Venkata Praveen and Harmantzis, Fotios, “ICT Infrastructure in Two Asian Giants: A Comparative Analysis of China and India” (January 10, 2008). Available at SSRN:

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